CHICAGO — Michael Morse is going to be aggressive at the plate. He wants hit the ball and hit it a long ways.
That aggressiveness has produced good and bad results for the big slugger this season.
The good has come in the form of homers. In the first inning of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the White Sox, Morse jumped on a slider from White Sox starter Chris Sale and ripped it into the left-field stands of U.S. Cellular Field for a two-run homer.
It was his fifth homer of the season, tying him for the most in the big leagues with Atlanta’s Justin Upton.
But after that home run, Morse struck out four consecutive times – giving him a team-high 10. Three of the four came with runners in scoring position, and two of them ended the inning. It tied a career high.
“They are feeding off my aggressiveness right now,” he said. “I just need to relax up there a little bit and zone up a little more. Stay aggressive but under control.”
Morse wasn’t the only one who failed in that situation. The Mariners were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.
Morse has a hit in every game this season for a .310 batting average and has driven in eight runs.
The Mariners showed hints of the offense they can produce this season. They’ve hit nine homers and players are taking more walks than before but the consistency isn’t quite there yet.
“I think we are definitely underachieving to what we are capable of doing, but it’s early,” More said. “It’s the first week of baseball. We’ve showed signs of what we are capable of doing. No one has really clicked yet, but there’s a lot baseball left to be played.”
It was a rare instance of hitting a ball too hard.
When Justin Smoak ripped a line drive to left field to lead off the seventh inning, it appeared he was on his way to a double and a chance for the Mariners to improve their 3-2 lead.
However, the ball bounced hard on the warning track and off the wall, right into the glove of glove of left fielder Dayan Viciedo, who wheeled and fired the ball to second base in one motion. The throw was perfect and beat Smoak by several steps.
What should have been a double was an out.
“I was thinking two out of the box right away,” Smoak said. “I’m not the fastest guy, but when you hit it that hard and it bounces right back to him, there isn’t much you can do.”
Smoak was credited with a single. He finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk.
The Mariners return home for the first time this season. Left-hander Joe Saunders (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will get the start for Seattle. Houston will go with right-hander Philip Humber (0-1, 1.59 ERA), who threw a perfect game for the White Sox at Safeco Field on April 21. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM