The Mariners rallied behind righty Chris Young's two-hit, one-run effort and broke out of an offensive lull in Monday's 5-1 win over the Angels. They'll try to interrupt Jered Weaver's incredible turnaround in the second of a four-game series on Tuesday at Safeco Field.
Weaver (5-3, 2.85 ERA) is coming off his first complete game since 2012, giving up one run on two hits and one walk while needing only 94 pitches to beat the Astros, 2-1. In his last seven starts, the 31-year-old right-hander has allowed just nine earned runs in 47 2/3 innings, walking 12 batters, striking out 33 and seeing his ERA drop from 5.79 to 2.85.
During the offseason, Weaver committed himself to an intense regimen of stretching and massage therapy. He's said this is the healthiest his arm has felt in about five years.
Weaver wasn't seeing results early in the year, but recently started working out with free weights -- before that he was working out with cable exercises that wouldn't put too much strain on a bicep tendon that had been tender for a few years -- and has been getting stronger every five days.
"I'm definitely feeling stronger toward the end of the game more than I did early on," he said. "Just the endurance part of it has been back; velocity is getting back to where it needs to be. I'm just trying to figure this thing out, man. I feel great, I feel healthy, but I still feel like [my] strength can get better.
"Obviously I started off slow, but I knew that I was healthy, that it was just some kind of change that needed to be made. Hopefully we've found that change."
The Mariners will counter with rookie southpaw Roenis Elias (3-3, 3.68 ERA), who has struggled a little in his last three starts, going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 17 1/3 innings after a breakout April.
His last time out, the Cuban defector struggled with his command, walking four and allowing three hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings en route to a no-decision.
"He really didn't have command of many of his pitches for the most part, but he kind of settled down a little bit in the fifth. … He hung in there and battled and gave us what we needed," manager Lloyd McClendon said after the win.
Last time the Angels were in Seattle, they hadn't really hit their stride. But they entered this series with 12 wins in their previous 16 games, and with an American League-best 20-11 record since April 21. They've won each of their last five series, but are just 8-11 against the AL West after dropping the opener.
"Even though on the offensive side we've been banged up a little bit, we've had some young guys come up and give us a boost," said manager Mike Scioscia. "And the starting pitching really evolved."
Angels: Comeback efforts have been key
The Angels are six games ahead of last year's pace, and more than half of their wins have been comeback efforts. Sunday's victory over the Royals, which saw them overcome a 3-0 deficit in the last three innings, marked the Angels' 15th come-from-behind win in 2014, tied with the White Sox and Tigers for the most in the Majors.
"It's showing that we don't quit," Angels center fielder Mike Trout said. "We get in a two- or three-run hole and we keep getting wins. We just keep having good at-bats, battling.
Mariners: McClendon trying three lefties at the top
McClendon expressed frustration with his lineup's inability to produce following Sunday's 4-1 loss to the last-place Astros, specifically the way it attacked left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who threw a complete-game four-hitter.
When Seattle faced its fourth lefty in as many games on Monday against Tyler Skaggs, McClendon decided to shake up the lineup by having right-handed-hitting Stefen Romero drop from second to seventh, while left-hander Michael Saunders took his place after hitting seventh Sunday.
This season, McClendon has maintained that he would prefer to not have three left-handed hitters -- James Jones, Saunders and Robinson Cano -- in a row at the top of the lineup vs. southpaws. He also said he likes to give Saunders, who went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored on Monday, periodic days off.
But he didn't apply either philosophy in the opener. Why?
"I think because No.1, you look at matchups, obviously lefties have hit this guy better than righties," McClendon said of Skaggs. "Saunders handles left-handers pretty good. Robbie is Robbie. Our young center fielder [Jones] doesn't seem to be overmatched."
• The Angels have a 2.85 ERA and a .195 batting average against on the road, both tops in the Majors.
• In 2014, the Mariners are 19-16 vs. the AL West, including 9-8 at home.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.