ARLINGTON, Texas – The Seattle Mariners pulled out the major league record book Wednesday and used it to club the Texas Rangers.
In the time it took the Elias Sports Bureau to look up all the things Seattle was doing, the Mariners had scored 17 runs – by the fourth inning – en route to a 21-8 victory over the first-place Rangers.
“A little above normal,” said Justin Smoak, who hit two home runs and had six RBI. “When everybody’s getting hits and scoring runs, it’s a lot of fun.”
The Mariners, some would suggest, wouldn’t know.
If that’s true, they learned a lot Wednesday:
• Seattle scored eight runs in back-to-back innings for the first time in franchise history – and just the fourth time in the majors since 1900.
• The Mariners sent 13 hitters to the plate in the second inning, then sent just as many to the plate in the third inning.
• The score was 16 after three innings, 17-0 after four.
• The 21 runs was the most scored in the big leagues this season, tied the Mariners’ highest run total on the road.
“You’re seeing their potential,” manager Eric Wedge said of his team. “They’re putting together games like this back-to-back, and they did it against potentially the best team in baseball.”
Against a Texas team leading the American League West with 31 wins, the Mariners are now 5-5 this season – and they’ve won the last two games by a combined 31-11 score.
“They hit everything I threw,” pitcher Derek Holland said.
And they were ready to do it.
“We did everything right tonight. It was one of those nights when every thing we hit dropped in,” said Kyle Seager, who batted third and had four hits, scored four times and had a pair of RBI.
“Every at-bat means something, and we don’t give them away. Even when you’re sitting on 21 runs, you try and put up a good at-bat.”
The good at-bats were everywhere in Seattle’s lineup.
Power? Smoak had two home runs, Dustin Ackley one and Jesus Montero one.
Production? The Mariners’ No. 3 hitter, Seager, had a career night. The No. 4 hitter, Montero had three hits and four RBI. The No. 5 hitter, Smoak, had three hits to pull his season average to .231.
“We played well together tonight,” Montero said. “I needed a triple for the cycle, but I said ‘That’s not going to happen.’ I had one in Triple-A last year, but the ball hit the top of the wall and bounced away from the outfielder.
“I’d need guys running into each other to get a triple up here.”
Matched against Holland, Blake Beavan shut the Rangers out in the first five innings, enduring long waits on the bench in the second and third, when Seattle was pushing 16 runs across.
“You can’t complain because we’re scoring all these runs, but it’s different sitting that long two innings in a row,” Beavan said.
When Beavan departed after six innings, ahead 17-5, the Mariners went to Hisashi Iwakuma – bringing him for just the fifth time in 53 games this season.
Iwakuma went three innings, allowed three runs and earned his first career save.
The Mariners hitters, meanwhile, banged out 20 hits and yanked their team average from .227 to .234 – no easy task. All nine starting players had at least one hit, and they had it by the fourth inning.
Seven Mariners had at least one RBI.
An offensively challenged team, Seattle has now batted around three times in the past two games.
“We took pitches and didn’t miss the ones we swung at,” Montero said.
“Awesome,” Smoak said of back-to-back eight-run innings.
“I’d never seen that before,” Felix Hernandez said.
What can the Mariners carry over from winning this series so convincingly?
“Confidence,” Seager said. “We were all feeling good and relaxed at the plate, working the pitcher, hitting our pitch.”
Added Wedge: “What you saw was our guys laying off tough pitches from Holland, and when he was up, they jumped on it. We didn’t miss balls we should have hit tonight.
“You’re seeing a more consistent approach at the plate, and it says a lot that they kept going. We scored four runs late, too.”
Now 23-30, the Mariners are 10-11 against divisional opponents and made something of a statement in taking two of three games here. The Rangers aren’t likely to overlook Seattle the next time the two teams firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue