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SEA@BAL: Elias strikes out seven in solid start

Rookie Roenis Elias gets the start for Seattle as the Mariners open a four-game series with the White Sox at Safeco Field Thursday. The two teams have squared off five times since March 6, with the White Sox taking three of the five games.

Seeking a playoff berth for the first time since 2001, the Mariners have struggled at home, losing more than half of their games at Safeco. They enter Thursday with a 28-31 home record, as opposed to a 31-23 mark on the road.

Elias took a 2-1 loss to the Orioles in Baltimore on Friday, but allowed just one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old Cuban has pitched well since the All-Star break (1-1, 1.69 ERA in three starts), but saw his record fall to 8-9 after the setback to the O's.

"I did my job," Elias said. "I went out and pitched like I do every day. I didn't have the luck to win, but that's the way the ball bounces."

"I thought Elias was a lot sharper and really competed well," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "That was a hard-fought game and well played on both sides."

Elias lost his only prior meeting with the White Sox on July 4, giving up five runs in five innings.

Scott Carroll will take the mound for the White Sox. In his last outing vs. the Twins, he let the first four batters he faced reach base before completing seven innings for his longest outing in 10 starts.

"If I execute some pitches in those first couple of innings, it's a little bit different story," Carroll said after the no-decision vs. Minnesota. "I'm proud to compete and go seven and give this team a chance to win."

Mariners: Saunders to start rehab stint
Right fielder Michael Saunders will begin a Minor League rehab stint on Thursday with Triple-A Tacoma as he continues his rehab from a strained oblique muscle in his left side that has sidelined him the past three weeks.

"I passed all the tests, now it's time to speed it up and get in game situations," said Saunders. "You can't emulate that, so that will be the true test. I'll DH [on Thursday], then get back in the field the following day and we'll take it from there. We have a tentative schedule, so hopefully I can get ready as soon as possible and be ready to come back up."

The six-year veteran was hitting .276 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 65 games before the injury.

White Sox: Ventura looking for a rebound
Heading into Thursday's matchup, manager Robin Ventura's White Sox are coming off of two of their toughest losses in a four-day span.

On Sunday, they were beaten by the Twins, 16-3, before getting blanked by the Rangers, 16-0, on Tuesday. Chicago then dropped Wednesday's finale to Texas.

"You'd like it to be better, but there's not a lot morale-wise you can do. It's pretty obvious what happened," Ventura said. "You've just got to be able to pick yourself up and come back. They've done well in spurts, and you have to be able to find that back, go out and compete and win the game."

Worth noting
• Mariners utility infielder Willie Bloomquist was scheduled to meet with doctors Wednesday for further tests on his bruised right knee, which is taking longer to heal than expected, according to McClendon. Bloomquist is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Friday, but has been unable to do any baseball work since injuring his knee on July 23.

• Adam Eaton left Wednesday's game against the Rangers in the second inning after colliding with the right-center field wall while tracking a home run ball from Adam Rosales. Eaton sustained a bruised lower back on the play, but X-rays were negative.

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