Dustin Ackley remembers the last time he felt this good at the plate.
It’s been a while, though — dating back to his Seattle Mariners call-up in 2011, as well as his college days at the University of North Carolina — when the Mariners made him their No. 2 overall pick in 2009.
His go-ahead 3-run home run in Sunday’s 5-3 win against the Washington Nationals was the second home run in as many days and is now one home run shy of tying his career high of 12, set in 2012.
He went 2-for-4 Sunday, and his four RBIs also tied a single-game career high. He finished August with 24 RBIs.
“It feels similar to how I’m able to compete in the box and not have to worry who is on the mound and what I’m doing with my swing,” Ackley said postgame. “… that’s ultimately where I’ve wanted to be the whole time.”
Ackley is hitting .260, including .314 with 19 extra-base hits since the All-Star Break when he was hitting .225. In 2011, Ackley hit .273 in 90 games and was sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said he feels Ackley has turned the corner, and hopefully, for good.
“Sometimes, it takes a while. We’re in such a hurry to see guys develop at a rapid pace,” McClendon said. “He believes in what he’s doing and he’s very confident in the player that he is, and it’s showing on the field.”
MORE DAY GAMES AHEAD
Including Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. start, Seattle has two more day games over the next three days — Monday’s 1:05 p.m. start to kick off its three-game series at Oakland against the Athletics, followed by a 12:35 p.m. start Wednesday.
Major league rosters can expand to 40 on Monday, which, combined with the club’s upcoming travel and day games, could lead to more lineup shuffling.
“We’ll have options,” bench coach Trent Jewett said pregame, as manager Lloyd McClendon was en route to Safeco Field from Indiana, where he missed the past two games attending his daughter’s wedding. “We’ll proceed accordingly. I think that’s the reason the rules are they way they are. It becomes challenging physically and mentally with the added day games and travel that’s in our near future.”
First baseman Logan Morrison wasn’t in Sunday’s lineup, getting what Jewett said was a “mental breather.” Morrison’s hitless streak reached four games after an 0-for-4 outing in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Nationals and he is 0-for-15 his past four games. … In a spot-start at shortstop, Brad Miller went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. … Austin Jack son’s three hits Sunday extended his hitting streak to 11 games. … Left-hander Joe Beimel reached a milestone over the weekend, officially hitting 10 years of major league service. Beimel has appeared in 614 games (591 in relief) with the seven organizations (Pirates, Twins, Rays, Dodgers, Nationals, Rockies and Mariners).
The Mariners begin a seven-game, two-city roadtrip starting Monday with a three-game series at Oakland. Right-hander Chris Young (12-6, 3.17 ERA) will go against Oakland right-hander and Port Orchard native Jason Hammel (9-10, 3.72 ERA). ROOT Sports will broadcast the game.