Lueke picks up Mariners in extended role

Lueke picks up Mariners in extended role

SEATTLE -- Before getting traded to the Mariners organization last year, Josh Lueke said he was always a one-inning reliever in the Rangers' system.

But the hard-throwing right-hander went three shutout innings Tuesday against the Angels, extending his scoreless streak to 6 1/3 innings over three appearances as he's begun gaining more comfort this rookie season.

"It's a little different to go out there and throw three innings," said the 26-year-old. "When you get thrown out there a little early in a game like that, you know you need to go out and get some quick innings under your belt and do whatever you can to limit the use of the bullpen so everybody will be fresh and ready to go tomorrow."

Mission accomplished, and greatly appreciated by his manager after starter Anthony Vasquez and reliever Jeff Gray had given up 12 runs in the first five innings of an eventual 13-6 loss.

"Lueke really saved us," manager Eric Wedge said. "And it wasn't just throwing three innings, he really threw the ball with good stuff."

Lueke, obtained in the Cliff Lee deal last year, still carries a 7.04 ERA and has 28 hits and 10 walks in 23 innings. But he's allowed just four hits and no walks in his last 6 1/3 frames and said he's found an approach to build on.

"I finally feel like things are starting to get balanced," he said. "I had a little bit of a roller-coaster ride there for a bit, but I'm trying to keep even-keeled and the confidence flowing and not allowing things to spike up and down like that."