SAN DIEGO -- Nelson Cruz didn't want to wait for the cake, so the Mariners slugger sliced his own gift -- a two-run homer in the top of the ninth -- in Seattle's 7-0 victory over the Padres in Wednesday's Interleague series finale at Petco Park.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
SAN DIEGO -- With Taijuan Walker cruising through six innings on just one hit with a 1-0 lead, manager Lloyd McClendon chose to lift the 22-year-old for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh in what turned into a 7-0 victory for the Mariners over the Padres.
The Mariners and A's meet will begin a four-game series at the Coliseum on Thursday, with Roenis Elias and Scott Kazmir squaring off in the opener. Seattle leads the season series 5-1, including a three-game sweep at Safeco Field in May.
Kazmir is 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA over his last six starts, but he lost his last start in a seven-inning, three-run performance against the Royals. The veteran left-hander is 4-5 with a 2.79 ERA on the season.
SAN DIEGO -- Since being called up four weeks ago to fill in for the injured James Paxton, rookie southpaw Mike Montgomery has opened eyes for the Mariners. But the 25-year-old took it to another level on Tuesday as he allowed just one hit and threw his second straight shutout, this one a 5-0 blanking of the Padres at Petco Park.
SAN DIEGO -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz is down to the final two days of All-Star Game voting and says he appreciates the fan support, no matter how things turn out in his race to the wire with Kendrys Morales of the Royals for the starting designated hitter spot on the American League team.
That'd be Alex Jackson, the highly touted outfielder who is baseball's No. 22 overall prospect. Playing for Class A Short Season Everett, he connected on his first homer of the year, a two-run shot that provided the winning margin in the AquaSox's 5-3 win over Boise.
ANAHEIM -- Carson Smith hasn't been officially proclaimed the Mariners' new closer. Or temporary closer. Or anything else. When the phone rings in the bullpen, he waits for his name to be called, just like always.
ANAHEIM -- With the Mariners on the verge of getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th inning on Sunday, reliever Tom Wilhelmsen threw a wild pitch that let Kole Calhoun race home with the winning run, giving the Angels a 3-2 walk-off win in the rubber game at Angel Stadium.
ANAHEIM -- Robinson Cano emerged unscathed from Saturday's incident in which he got hit in the temple with an errant warmup throw by Angels shortstop Taylor Featherston while sitting in the dugout between innings, but the Mariners knew they dodged a bullet.
ANAHEIM -- Mike Zunino isn't going to turn his season around in one week, but the Mariners' catcher is feeling better at the plate in recent days as his work with new hitting coach Edgar Martinez seems to be paying dividends.
Zunino went 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Angels and has hit .357 (5-for-14) with a walk and just one strikeout in 16 plate appearances over his past four games going into Sunday's series finale against the Halos.
ANAHEIM -- J.A. Happ wasn't perfect in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Angels, but the Mariners' veteran lefty seemingly deserves a better fate than four straight losses and six weeks since his last victory.
ANAHEIM -- Fernando Rodney got to shoot his arrow on Friday night, delivering a scoreless ninth inning in the Mariners' 3-1 victory over the Angels in his first save situation since losing the closer's job 24 days earlier.
ANAHEIM -- Taijuan Walker pitched seven innings of one-run ball and the Mariners' scuffling offense did just enough against the Angels' Matt Shoemaker to capture a 3-1 win at Angel Stadium on Friday night.
ANAHEIM -- Lloyd McClendon has said if the Mariners are going to rebound this season, they need their stars to lead the way. And Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz helped pave the path to a 3-1 win Friday over the Angels that got Seattle off on the right foot at the start of a nine-game road swing.
ANAHEIM -- Mark Trumbo acknowledges that getting traded by the D-backs in midseason has been one of the bigger challenges in his baseball career, adjusting to a new Mariners club and settling into a new city and surroundings on the fly.
ANAHEIM -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said reports on right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma's rehab start Thursday were that the 34-year-old pitched "OK" and he'll make another start for Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday against Las Vegas at Cheney Stadium before a decision is made on his possible return to Seattle.
SEATTLE -- With Edgar Martinez taking over as the man mentoring Mariners batters this season, the age-old baseball question looms large once again. How much impact can a hitting coach have on Major League players?
Right-hander, shortstop each named to World Team for prospect showcase
By Greg Johns
SEATTLE -- Right-handed pitcher Edwin Diaz and shortstop Ketel Marte, two of the Mariners' top prospects, were named Thursday to compete in the 2015 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 12 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.