White making mark in Seattle bullpen

White making mark in Seattle bullpen

SEATTLE -- Apparently all Sean White needed was a little confidence.

The Mariners reliever has been rising through the ranks of the Seattle bullpen, and through Tuesday's game against Baltimore was on a roll that made him one of the best in the American League for the past few weeks.

White, 28, has pitched scoreless ball over his last 11 outings (14 innings, seven hits) since May 12, marking the third-longest active shutout streak in the American League. He's stranded 14 of his 17 inherited runners this year. He's also got a 1.65 ERA and has recorded five holds.

"A lot of it has to do with confidence," White said. "I think I've made enough adjustments, just changing a few small things here and there, and that's enabled me to have success."

White says he's been staying over his body better and staying closed longer on the mound, enabling him to get a good downward plane on his pitches. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has noticed that, too.

"One thing he does as good as anybody is throw with an angle," Wakamatsu said. "He uses his changeup effectively against left-handed hitters, and he's built a lot of trust in any situation."

It's been a learning process for White, who broke into the Major Leagues in 2007 and went 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA in 15 appearances before spending the entire 2008 campaign at Triple-A Tacoma as a starter.

But with hard work with pitching coach Rick Adair and bullpen coach John Wetteland and a newfound commitment to rigorous pregame preparation, White and the Mariners are reaping the benefits of his resurgence.

On Tuesday night against the Orioles, White was summoned with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning after starter Erik Bedard walked two batters. White got two straight groundouts and then pitched a scoreless eighth.

"Sean White did it again," Wakamatsu said. "Again, it's pitching, pitching, pitching."

"I'm feeling comfortable with a lot of pitches in different counts," White adds. "Maybe where before I tried to be too perfect, now I'm just using confidence to be aggressive, go right at guys, and know that my defense will make the plays behind me."

Pitching matchup
SEA: LHP Jason Vargas (2-0, 1.65 ERA)
Vargas was effective for the fourth straight time as he shut down the Angels to the tune of just two runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings on Friday. The win marked his first as a starter since April 13, 2006. He's allowed just five runs in his four starts with four of those runs coming on solo home runs. Vargas has never faced the Orioles in his career.

BAL: RHP Brad Bergesen (2-2, 4.94 ERA)
Bergesen went eight innings in his last start, the longest outing of his brief big league career. The right-hander has been knocked out before completing five innings just one time in eight starts, but he has allowed at least four earned runs in half of his outings. Bergesen, who was named the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, is 0-1 with a 5.50 ERA in three road starts.

The current 26-game hitting streak by Ichiro Suzuki makes him only the third player with two streaks of 25 or more games in the last 20 seasons, joining Nomar Garciaparra and Vladimir Guerrero, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Ichiro's streak is the seventh in his career of more than 20 games. He's now tied with George Sisler for fourth-most 20-plus-game hitting streaks in history. The all-time record is eight and is shared by Willie Keeler, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose. ... Since collecting 31 straight singles between May 20-23, the Mariners have recorded at least one extra-base hit in each of the last nine games (33 total). Russell Branyan leads the club with 24 extra-base hits this season.

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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 5-3, 3.41) vs. Twins (Francisco Liriano, 2-7, 6.60), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Mariners (Garrett Olson, 0-1, 4.68) vs. Twins (Nick Blackburn, 5-2, 3.50), 1:10 p.m. PT

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.