Seattle Mariners - PlayerWatch

LF Michael Saunders hit leadoff for the first time this season Saturday, when he homered in Seattle's first at-bat of the game. It marked the first time a Mariner had led off a game with a home run this season. Saunders went 1-for-3 from the leadoff spot Saturday night before giving way to a pinch hitter in the seventh.

3B Kyle Seager continued his recent tear by hitting his third home run in three games on Saturday night. Since Thursday's game that saw him hit two home runs, including the game-winner, Seager has gone 6-for-11 with seven RBIs. His season batting average during that span has gone up from .156 to .213.

RHP Brandon Maurer is scheduled to make his second start as a rotation fill-in Sunday afternoon against Texas. Maurer was effective in his first start, throwing 4 1/3 innings while allowing only one run, but his chances of staying in the rotation are more about the health of others than what Maurer does. Starters Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker could all be near the end of stints on the disabled list, and the return of any of them would probably mean a trip to the bullpen or Triple-A for Maurer.

SS Brad Miller, mired in a 1-for-10 slump this homestand, was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order for Saturday's game. He went 0-for-4 but almost had an infield hit in the sixth, when manager Lloyd McClendon challenged a close call at first base. A 2:55 replay resulted in the call being upheld.

CF Abraham Almonte was not in the leadoff spot Saturday, marking the first time all season that he has not hit first for the Mariners. Almonte entered the game with a .215 batting average, a .263 on-base percentage and a team-high 33 strikeouts in 93 at-bats. From the No. 2 spot in the order Saturday, Almonte added two more strikeouts and popped out to the catcher on a failed sacrifice bunt on his way to an 0-for-5 performance that dropped his season batting average to .205. A return trip to Triple-A Tacoma might be in Almonte's immediate future.

DH Corey Hart was back in action Saturday after taking a pitch off his knee the previous night. Hart has had two knee surgeries over the past year-and-a-half but didn't appear to suffer any damage from Friday's hit-by-pitch.

LHP Joe Beimel had a rough outing Saturday night, which saw him give up two runs off four hits in 2/3 inning of work. Biemel entered the game with Seattle within 4-3, but Texas chased him from the game with three consecutive hits while tacking on a pair of runs.