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On a warm, short-sleeve summer night, the Mariners made Safeco Field look like a hitter’s paradise driving baseballs all over the park in a 8-2 win over the Red Sox.
With the win the Mariners are now a season-high six games over .500 at 42-36. The last time a Mariners’ team was six games over .500 was in 2009.
After scoring 12 runs the day before, Seattle hitters bashed a pair of deep home runs and banged out three more extra base hits and 10 total hits, looking nothing like the team that had struggled to score runs at home for much of the season.
“Our guys are starting to pick it up a little bit,” McClendon said. “I’ve said all along that we haven’t had a stretch where our guys have gotten really hot. And that’s going to happen. It’s starting to warm up a little bit and they are starting to feel good.”
The Mariners broke the game open in the fifth inning turning a 3-2 lead into a 7-2 snoozer. With one out and runners on first and second, Kyle Seager continued his one-man pursuit to prove that Safeco can be friendly to hitters. Seager jumped on a low cut fastball from Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, golfing a towering fly ball that stayed just inside the right field foul pole and ricocheted off the windows of the Hit it Here Cafe in the upper deck. It was estimated to have traveled 396 feet.
“I didn’t see it,” Seager said. “The guys told me about it. I’m just going to be happy if that they go over the fence. .”
It was Seager’s 11th homer of the season and pushed his RBI total to 53 – both team highs. He also had a RBI double in the first inning. Seager has driven in two runs or more in five straight home games – a club record. He’s on pace to drive in 116 runs this season.
But the more impressive numbers are what he’s done at home in a park where hitters aren’t supposed to be rewarded. He’s dominated, hitting .328 (42-for-128) at home this season with 10 of his homers and 36 of his runs driven coming at home this season. His OPS in 37 games at Safeco this season is over 1.000.
“It’s definitely a big park,” Seager said. “And we all know that. But you can’t change it. And you have to stick with your approach. It’s just one of those things where you get feeling and good and you go through runs and mine have been at home.”
Two batters later, Mike Zunino, who has displayed power that isn’t affected by any park or climate, crushed a solo homer into the Mariners’ bullpen off of Peavy to make it 7-2. It was Zunino’s 10th homer of the season and third in four games. The 10 homers are the most for any catcher in the American League.
“It’s been constant work,” Zunino said. “Heck, I’ve tried to just about everything so I’m happy something’s clicked. I’ve been able to get a couple of pitches that I can handle.”
Now the big question will Erasmo Ramirez make his next start?
McClendon probably won’t make a final decision on that till they see how Taijuan Walker feels the next few days after throwing his first complete game shutout – a four hit gem with seven strikeouts and one walk. He threw a season-high 107 pitches.
But there is a reason that Walker and Ramirez have been starting on the same schedule. Because that always going to be the goal moving forward. They wanted to see Walker build up some innings, find his command and make sure he came back healthy as his starts got longer. It appears he’s reached or reaching that point. McClendon was not pleased about having to go four deep into his bullpen to get the win and admitted he seems to be doing that every fifth day. I think he wants to make a change for a while now. Walker is finally giving them reason to do so.
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