Saunders still should be happy to be facing the Rangers on Saturday night at Safeco Field - where he has never lost - as his Seattle Mariners continue this four-game set.
In the regular season, the venue has proved to be decisive as to how Saunders (1-1, 3.48 ERA) has fared against Texas (7-4). He went 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in six regular-season starts in Arlington, but was 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in five home starts against the Rangers with the Los Angeles Angels between 2006-10.
Saunders, though, has pleasant memories of the last time he saw Texas. He allowed one run over 5 2-3 innings to help Baltimore post a 5-1 road victory last October in the first AL wild-card playoff game.
"They've got some new faces that I've never faced. So who knows?" Saunders told the Mariners' official website. "Obviously, it's a new year. Every year brings new challenges and there are new faces on their side and our side."
The left-hander won't be happy to see Ian Kinsler , who is 11 for 26 with four homers against him overall and 4 for 9 with a homer in this series. Kinsler has more homers against Saunders than against any other pitcher.
Saunders, though, certainly enjoys pitching at Safeco. He yielded six hits and one walk over 6 1-3 innings Monday for a 3-0 victory over Houston, improving to 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 10 career starts in Seattle.
"I thought my command was better," said Saunders, who lasted four-plus innings and gave up four runs and walked four in his Mariners debut April 3 in a 6-2 loss at Oakland. "I was able to feel the ball a little bit better."
Runs have been tough to come by in this series, with Texas winning 4-3 on Thursday and Seattle (5-7) responding with a 3-1 victory Friday.
It's also been tough to score against Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.77) this year as he prepares for his third start. Ogando's 1.68 career ERA in April is his best in any month, and he gave up his only run of the season Monday over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay.
The right-hander, who began 7-0 in his last season as a starter in 2011, went 1-0 with a 3.78 ERA in four starts against the Mariners that year. He posted an 8.22 ERA over seven relief appearances against them in 2012.
Struggling Seattle slugger Justin Smoak is 5 for 12 against Ogando, but brings a .175 average into this contest.
A key to this series has been hitting with runners in scoring position. Texas went 3 for 9 and Seattle was 0 for 9 on Thursday while the Mariners went 4 for 10 and held the Rangers hitless in six such at-bats Friday.
"The opportunities we had, we just couldn't cash them in," Ron Washington said.
Kyle Seager had one of those hits Friday with a two-run double to cap a three-run first inning.
Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski is 4 for 7 with a solo homer in this series.
|April 11, 2013||Justin Miller||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 07, 2013||Matt Harrison||15-Day DL||Inflamed nerve in lower back|
|April 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - blister|
|March 24, 2013||Neftali Feliz||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Joakim Soria||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 12, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Fractured finger|
|April 11, 2013||Michael Saunders||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|April 10, 2013||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Sprained right shoulder|
|March 25, 2013||Josh Kinney||60-Day DL||Stress reaction, left shoulder|
|March 19, 2013||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Stiffness in neck|
SEATTLE (AP) -- In his first full major league game, Leury Garcia didn't look like a rookie even in the midst of a wacky play.
Garcia picked up his first major league hit leading off the sixth inning of the Texas Rangers ' 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.
Four batters later, he was on third after the Rangers loaded the bases, and Nelson Cruz hit a broken-bat line drive with one out at Justin Smoak .
The ball hit the heel of the first baseman's glove, bounced out and Garcia broke for home. Smoak grabbed the ball and threw to second for the forceout. While Ian Kinsler got caught between second and third and was tagged out by third baseman Kyle Seager for an inning-ending double play, Garcia managed to cross the plate with the tying run.
"For the first time out there, he didn't show any nerves," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He had a good game."
That tied the score 1-all, and Texas took the lead in the eighth when Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre hit RBI singles with two outs.
"I saw the line drive, so it was like a freeze," said Garcia, limited to one pinch-hit at-bat coming in. "And then I saw him drop it and - gone."
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan already had booted a potential double-play ball earlier in the sixth. Smoak said Beltre, who was intentionally walked to load the bases, momentarily blocked his view.
"I should have caught the ball, first of all, but Beltre coming back to the bag kind of blinded me," Smoak said. "It happened so quick, I just threw it to second."
It was the only run the Rangers got off of Mariners starter Joe Saunders , who didn't get a decision. He allowed one run - unearned - and three hits in seven innings and is 7-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 11 starts at Safeco Fiel.
Carter Capps (0-1) walked Craig Gentry leading off the eighth and then got two outs before Andrus broke the tie with a hit to right field. Andrus stole second and kept going to third when Capps' pitch went to the backstop for a wild pitch, and he scored on Beltre's single.
"It's been like that. We haven't been swinging the bat the way we've wanted lately," Beltre said. "The key to us has been the pitching staff keeping us in the game. ... We hang around for a couple innings, then we score one or two and that's it, that's all we need."
Joe Ortiz (2-0) pitched two innings for his second win in three days, and Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in four chances.
Jason Bay had two hits and an RBI for the Mariners, who have lost four of five.
Seattle also took advantage of a ball deflecting off a fielders' glove for its first run. Kelly Shoppach led off with a double down the left-field line that bounced over the outfield fence and went to third on Dustin Ackley 's single. With one out, Endy Chavez popped up to left, but it was too shallow for Shoppach to attempt to score.
Bay followed with a liner to center that hit Gentry's glove as he dove. The ball bounced off, allowing Shoppach to score the game's first run.
Texas would have liked to have made more of its sixth-inning bases-loaded opportunity, but the Rangers were pleased in the end.
"You have to be happy every time you take something, to be sure," Andrus said. "We tied the game and we kept ourselves close and we were able to cash out."
NOTES: Seattle CF Franklin Gutierrez was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez had tightness in his right groin but hoped the outfielder would return to the lineup Sunday. ... Rangers RHP Yu Darvish will have his next start pushed back to Friday against the Mariners in Texas, giving him two extra days of rest. LHP Derrick Holland, RHP Justin Grimm and RHP Alexi Ogando will be the starters for the Rangers' series at the Chicago Cubs starting Tuesday. ... RHP D.J. Mitchell cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent after he was designated for assignment by Seattle on Thursday.