There is no bad blood, rivalry or even a history between the Mariners and Pirates. They are hardly neighbors, given Seattle's edge-of-the-earth locale. They are, in fact, barely acquainted. Tuesday night, they met for the first time at PNC Park since a three-game series in June 2004.

Since the Mariners' last visit (the clubs also played three games in Seattle in 2007), much has transpired for both franchises. Managers, general managers and players have come and gone but with relatively little to show for it until recently. The Mariners scraped together two winning seasons in that time. The Pirates have gone 20 years without doing it once.

But under recently new managers, the clubs also share hope. The Pirates won 57 games in 2010, 79 last season. The Mariners won 61 games in 2010, 75 in 2012. This is Pirates manager Clint Hurdle's third season, the second for Mariners skipper Eric Wedge. The Pirates are 18-14 after beating the Mariners, 4-1, Tuesday night. Seattle is 15-19 but had been the hottest team in the American League West, winning seven of 10 games while taking successive series from the Angels, Orioles and Blue Jays.

“We're right around the corner,” Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. He meant that figuratively. Little is around the corner from Seattle, the jewel of the Pacific Northwest a long plane ride from everywhere. That and the club's composition makes this a fairly anonymous bunch. Which is fine with veteran pitcher Joe Saunders.

“We love that,” he said. “We do our business, and it kind of stays under the radar. We don't ask for a lot of hype, a lot of press. We don't ask for all the BS and stuff like that, that comes with the notoriety other teams have. We like to show people what we can do and how we can do it.”

This is a homecoming for Zduriencik, who grew up in New Castle, graduated from California (Pa.) coached football at Clairton High School and worked as the Pirates' scouting director from 1991-93, the first two years of which are wistfully recalled as the good old days.

“The last winning year was '92,” he noted.

The clubs have obvious differences. Seattle plays in a larger market, has a larger payroll and will start in 2015 a 17-year cable deal worth $2 billion, according to published reports. But Zduriencik agreed there is some common ground between his present club and his former one. Both are relatively in the same place, trying to achieve the same goals in pretty much the same ways.

“We're a young big league club,” he said. “I can see similarities to Pittsburgh. We've got a superstar player, we brought in some guys who we think can help us get over the top, help the young guys grow and we've got a very healthy minor league system.”