As the weather heats up, so apparently do Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders.
The two left-handers will meet on Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series at Safeco Field. The Mariners are seeking their ninth straight win, while Cleveland finds itself facing a possible sweep for the second series in a row.
The Indians avoided one on Sunday by winning in Minnesota. Another sturdy effort from Kazmir (5-4, 4.30 ERA) will probably be required in order to salvage this finale.
Since June 21, Kazmir has made six starts, going 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA over 37 innings, during which he has 28 strikeouts and 10 walks. Kazmir is coming off back-to-back quality starts. Last Friday, he allowed two hits and two unearned runs over six innings.
"I was able to get quick outs and got into the sixth inning," Kazmir said. "A couple little hiccups cost me a couple runs. It cost us throughout the whole game. It was tough."
Sloppy defense has been a recurring theme for Cleveland since the All-Star break. In dropping four out of five games, the Tribe has committed seven errors, including three in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Mariners.
The Indians will need to be on top of their game against Saunders, who has won all four of his July starts. During the month, he has a 1.73 ERA to go along with 18 strikeouts and six walks over 26 innings.
In his last outing, Saunders allowed three runs and nine hits at Houston, but the Mariners' lineup threw a bunch of runs on the scoreboard, as it has done all month. Seattle is averaging just over six runs per game in July.
"As I've said in the past, it's just a matter of us doing the little things. And right now, we're doing the little things," Saunders said. "We're throwing the ball good, we're getting strikeouts when we need strikeouts and double plays when we need double plays. And we're getting clutch hits.
"It's all about situational hitting and we're doing that real well right now. We're hitting with guys in scoring position, which is key, and we're not giving away at-bats. Put that all together and good things are going to happen."
Indians: Gomes homers, likely to start again
• Yan Gomes went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer on Tuesday, his first action since Friday. With Kazmir pitching the series finale, Gomes will likely start behind the plate. Gomes has caught Kazmir's previous six starts and 11 of his outings this season. Overall, Kazmir has posted a 2.95 ERA and .630 opponents' OPS over 64 innings with Gomes behind the plate.
"He's done such a good job," Tribe manager Terry Francona said of Gomes, "and it seems like he got [Kazmir] on a roll. ... Unless something happens, we'll keep doing it. And we want Gomes to play."
Gomes is batting .263 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs over 41 games. The backup catcher also has thrown out 11 of 20 baserunners.
• Tribe starters are 5-2 with a 2.15 ERA over the past 12 games. Cleveland is 6-6 in that stretch, during which the offense has scored 3.25 runs per game.
Mariners: Wedge improving after dizzy spell
• Manager Eric Wedge remained in the hospital on Tuesday after experiencing a dizzy spell during batting practice on Monday.
"He's doing well, I had an opportunity to spend some time with him [Tuesday] morning," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "I visited him and his wife, Kate, and he's doing well. He's in good spirits. But it's a little premature to say yet what the prognosis is going to be. More than anything else, as a precaution, they just want to keep him another evening as they get the results from the tests, which are ongoing."
• During Seattle's eight-game win streak, the club's starting pitchers are 8-0 with a 2.04 ERA and the offense has scored 6.25 runs per game.
• The Indians are 12-4 against the American League West following Tuesday's 4-3 loss.
• The Mariners are 27-34 all-time against Cleveland at Safeco Field.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.