Where didn’t they hit it?
They hit it left, right, far, near, there and even over Here – as in over the Hit It Here Café towering in the third deck above the right-field wall at Safeco Field.
And they needed every one of them with the Oakland Athletics seeming to answer every time. Their 17 hits and four home runs led to a 10-8 victory on Saturday for their fourth consecutive win.
“A lot of hitting going on out there today,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Great ball game.”
This was the sixth time in the Mariners’ 12 games they’ve scored at least five runs and the second time they’ve scored at least 10. It’s also the sixth time they’ve had at least 10 hits.
But no hit traveled farther nor was more obliterated than Daniel Vogelbach’s second career home run and his second in as many games when he towered it 433 feet over that bulls-eye marking the Hit It Here Café in the seventh inning
It was hit so hard it had Nelson Cruz’s eyebrows almost jumping off of his face in the dugout in his first game back in the Mariners’ (8-4) lineup since injuring his ankle on March 31 against the Indians.
Ever get ahold of a baseball like that?
“No, not that I know of,” Vogelbach said. “I don’t think so. I got that one pretty good.”
They also got a three-run homer to left field in the second inning from Jean Segura, a two-run, opposite-field shot to right from Mitch Haniger (after his go-ahead three-run home run on Friday) and Kyle Seager’s liner over the center-field wall.
But there was also Dee Gordon’s swinging bunt that traveled about 11 feet to score a run. His blazing speed beat the throw to first, too.
And that negated the 10 hits and eight runs from the A’s after they chased Mariners’ starter Marco Gonzales, the Gonzaga University graduate, after 3 1/3 innings.
He retired the first six batters before the wheels started to fall off. He allowed four runs (though he struck out five).
“Marco was throwing the ball really well the first few innings and then he ran into trouble,” Servais said. “He lost his fastball command and had a tough time putting guys away.”
But Edwin Diaz did his magic – despite allowing his first base hit of the season. Diaz struck out Mariner-killer Khris Davis for the final out and his sixth save.
“We feel really good about getting him the ball,” Servais said. “(Bench coach) Manny Acta likes to joke with me on the bench that the game is over for the manager. Sit down. You got the ball to your closer.”
HIT PARADE: The Mariners had a season-high 17 hits.
A couple of notes on those hits:
Maybe the biggest was Jean Segura’s three-run home run, his first homer of the season. It was a 93-mph sinker low and inside that Segura golfed over the left-field wall to kick-start the scoring, giving the Mariners a 3-0 lead.
“I don’t know how he hit that ball,” Servais said. “Pulled his hands in and got the barrel to it.”
Dee Gordon pushed his hit streak to 18 consecutive games dating back to last year and each of the 12 games this season. He finished 3-for-5.
Robinson Cano has reached base in every game. Mitch Haniger picked up three RBI’s to push his season total to 15 RBIs in 12 games. Nelson Cruz got a base hit in his first game back, despite still looking hobbled by the ankle injury.
Kyle Seager – he was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. His double gives him 217 for his career with the Mariners, which passed Raul Ibanez for fifth most in club history.
And Ichiro Suzuki picked up an infield single. Every starter in the Mariners’ lineup had a hit.
“The story should be about these guys and the way they are swinging it,” Gonzales said. “I can’t speak enough of Dee and the energy he brings. You can tell he just fires guys up. And to be able to pitch behind them and get them back in the dugout as fast as I can – that’s what’s really fueling this pitching staff right now.”
VOGEL-TRAIN: After back-to-back strikeouts with pats on his back from hitting coach Edgar Martinez on his way back into the Mariners’ dugout, it didn’t first feel like Vogelbach’s night would end like this.
Start with the moon shot.
Over the “Hit it Here Café” and into the third deck in right field.
Gonzales said he was in the Mariners’ clubhouse when it happened.
“I think I still heard it from in here,” Gonzales said. “The guy is just hot right now – and I can say that about a lot of our guys right now.”
It jumped off Vogelbach’s bat at 111.5 mph and traveled 433 feet for his second career home run and second home run in as many days. Cruz raised his eyebrows seemingly above his head in the dugout.
You know what, we're gonna mark that one down as a bulls-eye. pic.twitter.com/aLab46nm90— Mariners (@Mariners) April 15, 2018
It sent the fans at Safeco Field into a Vogel-frenzy. Servais first called one of Vogelbach’s spring-training home runs a Vogel-bomb, but this was something else.
The solo homer gave the Mariners a 10-7 lead in the seventh inning.
It might not have been his biggest play, either.
He has been substituted late in games defensively at first base, and again Saturday for Taylor Motter, but his dig to complete a double play in the fourth inning saved the Mariners’ a run from scoring. It was a high-hopper toward him after Cano quickly pitched a slow roller to Segura at second for the first out. Segura had to quickly turn it to Vogelbach.
Matt Joyce was originally ruled safe at first until it was overturned on replay review, taking away Matt Olson scoring on the play and holding the Mariners’ lead at 5-4.
“Slow roller and tough for Seggy to get it and throw it right to my chest,” Vogelbach said. “So they made the good play and it’s my job to help them out.”
And then he turned on his wheels in the fifth inning.
Vogelbach looped a ground-rule double into the right-field corner and Ichiro, amid “I-chi-RO chants” followed with a sharp grounder toward shortstop Marcus Semien.
Semien dived for the ball and tried to get Vogelbach at third base. But it got by Matt Chapman and a sliding Vogelbach realized he had a path to the plate.
He churned, didn’t slide and crossed just in time to avoid Jonathan Lucroy’s swiping tag to give the Mariners a 7-4 lead.
“Yeah, I think it about gave Skip a heart attack not sliding,” Vogelbach laughed.
“This team is so fun. And everybody on this team comes to the park for one reason and that’s to win. However you got to do it that night is how you get it done. I’m just so happy to be here and contribute every single night.”
MARINER-KILLER: Maybe no player has tortured the Mariners the past two years and the start of this one like Athletics’ designated hitter Khris Davis.
Davis hit two home runs on Friday and followed that with a first-pitch, two-run shot against Nick Vincent in the seventh inning.
And that turned what looked like might be a Mariners’ rout into a close game.
The telling stat: Davis has hit 17 home runs since 2016 against the Mariners. That’s more than any other player against them during that span.
And Servais knows that.
“He’s a very dangerous guy,” Servais said before the game. “He’s certainly done plenty of damage against us since I’ve been here. I thought we did a better job last year. The first year he killed us. He’s got big power. No question.”
It was an interesting start for Gonzales. He seemed to escape with minimal damage and maybe no damage after a replay review overturned an RBI double from Marcus Semien. Originally, Jonathan Lucroy had scored on the play but Semien was tagged out on an athletic play from Gonzales to back up catcher David Freitas and apply the tag on Semien at home for the third out.
But replay showed Semien’s hit bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. So Lucroy was sent back to third base and Semien to second with no damage and the Mariners still up 3-0.
Except Mark Canha followed with a two-RBI single and then Jed Lowrie tied it with another single. And Gonzales would only last for two more outs.
“I thought they were challenging the play at the plate and the umpire said no, it was a ground-rule double,” Gonzales said. “And so to go from we’re out of the inning to back to second and third, I just lost a little aggressiveness and I started being a little passive with my pitch selection."