SEA@TEX: Cano crushes a two-run homer to tie the game

SEATTLE -- Rookie center fielder James Jones and second baseman Robinson Cano both held impressive streaks entering Sunday's series finale against Houston.

Cano, who went 2-for-4 in Saturday's 9-4 loss, has reached base in 31 consecutive games and is hitting .372 (45-for-121) with 20 RBIs during that span.

"I've said all along he's one of the top five players in the game," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "That he's doing it is not a surprise to me. I don't really think he's gotten hot. I just think he's been very consistent."

Jones went 1-for-5 on Saturday, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Jones has at least one hit in his first 15 starts, a club record.

"I didn't think he would be overmatched at this level, I didn't think he'd do as well as he's done this quickly," McClendon said. "Does it surprise me? Not really. He's a very talented young man. Very athletic. His speed causes problems on the baseball field for other teams. We knew he was capable of this with what we saw in Spring Training. He's probably a little faster than I thought he would be."

Paxton pleased with progress from first rehab start

SEA@LAA: Paxton strikes out nine over seven scoreless

SEATTLE -- Mariners left-hander James Paxton reported tightness in his left triceps after throwing three innings Saturday for Triple-A Tacoma, but on Sunday said his first rehab start was a "good step" on his way back from the strained lat muscle that's sidelined him since April 8.

Paxton said he expected to feel some soreness but that it was good to face an opposing team in a competitive setting. He threw 62 pitches, then 13 more in the bullpen to build his pitch count after allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits in his first game action since getting hurt in the Mariners' home opener.

Paxton said he will throw his next bullpen Monday or Tuesday, but doesn't know when the Mariners plan to activate him off the disabled list. In the meantime, he'd like to refine his command after the El Paso Chihuahuas roughed him up for three doubles. He struck out five and walked two.

"I was trying to find my timing yesterday," said Paxton, who is ranked as the Mariners' third-best prospect. "There's still a few things I need to smooth out a little bit, but I don't think it's a very big jump to where I need to be."

Paxton, 25, is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA this season and 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his first six career starts. Manager Lloyd McClendon said the club will re-evaluate the southpaw after his next bullpen.

"I think it's something we have to talk about more -- talk with the trainers and Lloyd and [pitching coach] Rick Waits before we make a decision," Paxton said.

McClendon honored to catch Wilkens' first pitch

HOU@SEA: Mariners Turn Back the Clock to 1979

SEATTLE -- Lloyd McClendon is a big fan of Lenny Wilkens.

Growing up, McClendon admired the way Wilkens, who's been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach, conducted himself. He admired the way the former point guard coached and the way players responded to him.

So when Wilkens was honored Saturday on Turn Back the Clock Night by throwing the ceremonial first pitch, McClendon was there to catch it.

"Always a class act on the basketball court," McClendon said of Wilkens, who coached the Seattle SuperSonics to their first and only NBA championship in 1979.

McClendon doesn't know Wilkens personally but said after Saturday night's game he'd cherish the chance to sit down and talk with him.

"I think you take ideas -- you shape and form from human beings -- not from the coach but from the person," McClendon said Sunday. "I think if I'm smart, I can learn more than that than from X's and O's."

Worth noting

• Entering Sunday, Seattle's bullpen ranked third in the American League with a 3.57 ERA.

• Mariners righty Taijuan Walker, who hasn't pitched in a Major League game this season while dealing with right shoulder problems, threw a bullpen session Sunday. Barring a setback, he's scheduled to make his first rehab start Wednesday night with Triple-A Tacoma against Salt Lake at Cheney Stadium.