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TEX@SEA: Saunders hurls seven frames of one-run ball

In the midst of a 12-day road trip, the Orioles will arrive in Seattle with a lot of momentum.

Baltimore has won eight of its last 11 games, including three of four against the defending American League West champion Athletics over the weekend.

The Mariners are also playing well, as they took three of four from the Angels over the weekend.

As the three-game series opens, the Orioles will be facing a familiar face in Joe Saunders. The left-hander will get the start for the Mariners against his former team.

Saunders was acquired by the Orioles in late August last year from the D-Backs and went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in the regular season. He was also 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in two postseason starts.

"When he's going good, he works ahead and stays ahead," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "What he's very good at is moving the baseball around the way he needs to, whether it's up, down, in or out and recognizing swings. As a veteran pitcher, especially a lefty that is crafty and knows how to get big league hitters out, if he does that and he's on with his release point and hitting his spots, then he'll be in good shape."

Saunders is coming off a rough outing in Houston, where he allowed eight runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings, but he has yet to allow a run in 13 1/3 innings at Safeco Field this season.

While Saunders has been strong at Safeco, the Orioles offense has hit its stride lately, scoring three or more runs in each of the last six games.

Zach Britton is scheduled to make his first start for Baltimore since Sept. 15 of last season after he was called up on Thursday to aid a tired pitching staff.

Orioles: Exposito called up
When the Orioles placed catcher Taylor Teagarden on the disabled list with a dislocated right thumb, Luis Exposito drove straight to the airport and joined his teammates in Oakland.

Exposito appeared in nine games last season, but he learned from Teagarden during Spring Training and feels he is ready for this opportunity.

"During Spring [Training], he'd help me [with] how to be a veteran kind of player," Exposito said. "He leads by example, he's a professional player and he carries himself that way. That's how I want to be."

• J.J. Hardy is looking forward to the end of April and the beginning of May. Hardy is a career .277 hitter with 92 RBIs in May, his best average of any month.

Mariners: Saunders expected to return
Michael Saunders finished his second rehab start on Saturday, and he played one more Triple-A game Sunday before he is expected to rejoin the Mariners on Monday.

Saunders has been on the disabled list since April 11 with a sprained right shoulder.

Worth noting:
• In seven career starts against the Orioles, Saunders is 5-0 with a 4.73 ERA.

• Nick Markakis has a .321 career average against the Mariners, his second best against any AL team, and has a .310 average at Safeco Field.

• Adam Jones, originally drafted by the Mariners, has hit .314 against Seattle pitching, his best against any AL team. Comments