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Noesi fans seven over eight innings

If familiarity breeds contempt, Monday night's series opener between the D-backs and Mariners should be a relatively friendly affair.

Not only has neither starting pitcher faced the other club, but Arizona lefty Wade Miley has never thrown a pitch to a current Mariners batter.

Seattle right-hander Hector Noesi has almost as few reference points, having faced only three D-backs hitters -- Aaron Hill, John McDonald and Jason Kubel -- none of whom have more than two plate appearances against him.

Facing Noesi, the D-backs will be looking to halt their 21-inning scoreless drought, which dates back to Friday night. They were shut out in a pair of games over the weekend, mustering just five hits during that time against Angels pitching.

Noesi (2-7, 5.54 ERA) may be coming off seven innings of one-run ball against the Padres in Seattle, but he has struggled on the road all season. He is 0-3 with an 8.15 ERA away from Safeco Field, while posting a 2-4 mark with a 3.20 ERA at home.

Though Noesi tossed a gem against the Padres, he picked up the loss after surrendering a solo homer to Yonder Alonso in the seventh inning. The Mariners didn't score.

"Noesi pitched really good tonight," Mariners catcher Jesus Montero said after the game. "I think we did a nice job together. Their guy was good. We tried to hit the ball, but we didn't find the spots. But Noesi was throwing the ball nice. Just one pitch. Unbelievable."

Nonetheless, if Noesi can build off the success of his last start, the Mariners will be undoubtedly pleased after he struggled for most of the season's first two months.

Miley will be looking to rebound in the same way. The D-backs lefty allowed just one run on three hits against the Rangers in his last start, but took the loss in a 1-0 defeat.

He has been a pleasant surprise for the D-backs with a 7-3 mark and 2.39 ERA. In his last two starts, he has allowed just two runs, while striking out 13.

Mariners: Wilhelmsen thriving as closer
Mariners manager Eric Wedge acknowledged Sunday that it's going to be tough to give Tom Wilhelmsen's closer job to Brandon League, with the way Wilhelmsen has been pitching of late.

That, of course, is not a bad thing for Wedge, as Wilhelmsen has tossed 11 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, holding opponents to a .108 batting average.

"I don't think we can right now," Wedge said of making the switch back to League. "But I like to have multiple options there for the ninth."

• The Mariners' offense has gotten a boost from the return of outfielder Casper Wells, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma last week and is 6-for-12 with a homer since.

"He's off to a great start since he's been back here," Wedge said. "He worked really hard down in Triple-A, spent a lot of time in the cage. The thing with Casper is just slowing his lower half down with that leg kick. ... When he does that, it frees him with the upper half and allows him to use his hands better."

D-backs: Gibson optimistic about Drew
Injured D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew is nearing 11 months since he last played in the big leagues, after hurting himself sliding into home plate on July 20.

He suffered a spiral fracture of his right ankle and damage to three ligaments, which led to a very difficult rehab process, but Arizona manager Kirk Gibson appeared pleased when talking about Drew on Sunday.

"I'm optimistic that he's getting closer," Gibson said.

• The D-backs have allowed just 26 walks in their 15 June games, the fewest in the Major Leagues. In total, Arizona pitchers are 9-6 with a 2.98 ERA this month.

Worth noting
• The Mariners lead the all-time series against the D-backs, 13-5, with Seattle having won seven straight since 2001.

• In three career games against Seattle, Arizona right fielder Justin Upton is hitting .455 with a homer and three RBIs.

• The Mariners are 6-6 in Interleague Play this season. They are riding a streak of 12 consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better against the National League.

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