Neal gave up seven runs and eight hits in four innings in his first major-league start and second appearance that night in Seattle.
"That was so long ago," Neal said of the 13-3 loss. "I feel like I'm a completely different player now. That was my second game ever. Everything feels different now than it did, just as far being here more and being more comfortable. It's hard to even pull anything from that."
Since then, Neal has gone 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA and one save in 10 appearances, including his second career major-league start on Tuesday against Baltimore. Neal has struck out eight, walked one and allowed 19 hits in 22 1/3 innings during that stretch.
Neal gave up one run and two hits, struck out one and walked none in 5 1/3 innings in a 2-1 victory over the Orioles.
In his start against Seattle at Safeco, Neal gave up two home runs to Adam Lind, a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run blast during a six-run third.
"I've been a starter long enough to know you can't live and die by one game," Neal said. "It's a long season, and if you do that, then it's going to be an even longer season. I've been through those many a time in my career and learned from them. I think that's part of growing up as a baseball player. Mentally being able to handle those situations is key."
Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who will make his seventh start of the season, knows plenty about handling adversity. LeBlanc, 31, played the 2015 season for the Seibu Lions of Japan's Pacific League because he couldn't find a job in the major leagues. This year, he signed with Toronto and was pitching for Triple-A Buffalo until the Mariners acquired him in a trade on June 22.
LeBlanc has gone 1-0 with a 4.71 ERA in seven appearances, including six starts for the Mariners. Seattle is 6-1 in his seven outings.
"He's had some good games for us," Mariners manager Scott Servais said before Seattle's 4-3 victory over the A's on Saturday. "He's had some other ones where he was on the edge. His last time out he could have fallen apart, and he hung in there and gave us five innings, which allowed us to come back in the game.
"He has to live on the edges of the strike zone to be effective, and he's done a pretty good job for us. We have a pretty good idea of what we're going to get out of him every time out there. He's going to throw strikes, he's not going to beat himself."
In his last start, LeBlanc gave up four runs and 10 hits in five innings and got a no-decision in Seattle's 6-5 victory over Detroit on Tuesday. He struck out two, walked three and allowed two home runs.