When Mike Carp was sent from Seattle to Tacoma for the second time this season on June 11, a shoulder injury had ended his stay in left field play for the season and his bat didn’t looked particularly good, either.
Six weeks later – six days ago – first baseman Justin Smoak was optioned to the Rainiers and Carp returned to the Mariners, batting .132.
Then Kansas City showed up.
“We didn’t make good pitches to him all weekend,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We left balls over the middle of the plate and middle in. He got a lot of hits off us.”
Only eight in the four games, all won by Seattle.
Carp went 8-for-15, (.533) with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. When Carp doubled home a run in the second inning Sunday, he not only tied the game, he continued a stretch of productive hitting Seattle hadn’t seen all season.
Carp has now driven in at least one RBI in five consecutive games. No Mariners player had as long a streak in 2012 and the last time anyone in Seattle had a longer one – six games – was last year.
Carp had that one, too.
“You come up with the chance to get a run home, that changes your job,” he said. “Whatever you have to do, you do. If you get ’em home with an out, fine. If you need an extra-base hit, you look for a pitch you can drive. RBI is what my job entails.”
Oh, and Carp is now batting .202 – a gain of 70 points in five days.
If Carp has been productive this week, third baseman Kyle Seager has been remarkably clutch all season, and now leads all major league hitters with 36 two-out RBI.
Overall, Seager has a club-leading 62 RBI, but two-out RBI hits seem a speciality.
“I try to slow the game down every at-bat, but when there are two outs, you really have to focus, because an out won’t get a run home,” Seager said.
On Sunday, the Royals walked Jesus Montero with two outs to get to Seager.
“I understood. They had a lefty on the mound, and Jesus has been killing lefties.”
Seager singled up the middle. After the game, he wanted to talk more about his ninth stolen base.
“Hey, I can run a little bit,” Seager said. “I just have to pick my spots.”
Hisashi Iwakuma, the veteran right-hander who flew to Japan on Thursday to see his seriously ill father, returned Saturday, and will start tonight against the Blue Jays. Over his past nine starts, Felix Hernandez is 5-0 with a 1.60 earned run average. When Oliver Perez won the game in relief Sunday, it was his first big-league win since Aug. 18, 2009. In his first 572 at-bats against left-handed pitching, Michael Saunders managed two doubles. In 341 at-bats this season, he has nine more.
Seattle meets the Toronto Blue Jays in a 7:10 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Toronto’s Ricky Romero (8-7, 5.76 ERA) vs. Iwakuma (1-2, 4.56).