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Mariners await opener of rare series in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Now that their own playoff hopes are dead, the Atlanta Braves will try to derail the aspirations of the Seattle Mariners when the clubs begin a three-game interleague series Monday at SunTrust Park.

Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (10-8, 4.75 ERA) will be opposed by Seattle's Andrew Albers (1-0, 1.80) in the opening game.

The Mariners (63-62) saw their four-game winning streak end with a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. Seattle resides 1 1/2 games out of the second American League wild-card spot.

Atlanta (55-67) is not in playoff contention in the National League and has won only four of its past 13 games. The Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 Sunday at SunTrust Park to salvage the finale of a three-game series.

The Mariners are visiting Atlanta for just the third time. The teams last met in 2014 when the Mariners swept the four-game series with two wins in Atlanta and two in Seattle. The Braves swept a three-game home series against the Mariners in 2011.

Albers, who has yet to face the Braves in his career, will make his second start for the Mariners since he was recalled from the minors. He beat the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, allowing one run on six hits in five innings. He retired the last eight batters he faced to pick up his first major league win since 2013.

"Whether I get the 'W' or somebody else, it doesn't really matter," Albers said. "Coming in here, getting to be part of a wild-card race, that's pretty awesome."

Albers, 31, was acquired from the Braves on Aug. 11 in a move to bolster a Seattle rotation that has been ravaged by injuries. He was 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 appearances, 17 starts, for Atlanta's Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate.

Atlanta had signed Albers in December 2016 to a minor league contract, primarily to help provide innings for the rotation.

As their injuries continued to mount, the Mariners identified Albers, a much-traveled veteran who had previous big-league experience with the Twins and Blue Jays. He became the 16th starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season, one shy of the team record.

This is only the 21st time that Atlanta will face a left-handed starting pitcher this season. The Braves are 10-10 and batting .263 against southpaws.

Foltynewicz will try to rebound from two poor starts. He allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 11 and gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 frames against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 16. The two performances raised his ERA from 3.94 to 4.75.

"I was trying my hardest out there," Foltynewicz said after the Colorado game. "I was just leaving balls out over the middle of the plate. I gave up some bloop hits and gappers -- and walking people doesn't help. Things were just running a little fast through the mind."

Foltynewicz will make his first start against the Mariners. When he pitched for the Houston Astros, he made two relief appearances against Seattle in 2014 and went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.

Against interleague competition, Seattle is 10-7 and Atlanta is 7-7.