There are times when Mariners shortstop Jean Segura seems to believe he can hit any pitch no matter where it’s thrown. And there are times, like now, when he pretty much does just that.
Segura carries a career-best 17-game hitting streak into Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field. He also leads the American League in batting with a .359 average.
"He’s an interesting player," manager Scott Servais said. "Every night, you learn a little bit more about him. It’s hits. It’s home runs. It’s stolen bases. It’s defense. It’s all over the field. It’s something a little bit different every night."
Segura hit a three-run homer in Thursday’s 5-4 victory over the White Sox in the series opener. He received an intentional walk in the ninth inning just prior to Guillermo Heredia’s game-winning RBI single.
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This isn’t a total surprise.
Segura, 27, blossomed last season at Arizona into one of the game’s top hitters when he batted .319 and led the National League with 203 hits before coming to the Mariners in a blockbuster November trade.
"Everything is working well for me right now," he said. "I feel lucky. It’s not easy to do. I just want to keep it simple. Just go out there and focus every at-bat. You know that’s what it going to take."
That intentional walk Thursday is pretty much the only way to pitch around Segura, who controls the strike zone (and beyond) with quick hands and a short swing.
"Sometimes he gets in trouble," Servais said, "because he thinks he can hit every pitch, but he has some kind of hand/eye coordination. He’s fun to watch hit."
***Friday offers a lefty pitching matchup between Ariel Miranda (3-2 with a 4.79 ERA) and Chicago’s Jose Quintana (2-5 and 4.38). The game starts at 7:10 p.m. and can be seen on Root Sports Northwest.
***Miranda is unbeaten in his last four starts and allowed two or fewer runs in three of them. He lost his only previous career start against the White Sox last year in Chicago. He gave up three runs in four innings, including a homer to fellow Cuban defector Jose Abreu.
***Quintana’s five losses are tied for the most in the league, although he’s been better lately after losing his first four starts. He is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in eight career games against the Mariners, including 1-1 and 2.31 in two starts at Safeco Field.
***Kyle Seager is just 2-for-19 with seven strikeouts in his career against Quintana, but both hits were home runs. Danny Valencia is 2-for-20, but Nelson Cruz is 7-for-20.
***Jarrod Dyson’s .316 career average against the White Sox is his highest against any American League opponent. He’s also hit three of his nine career homers against them. But he’s faced Quintana just four times (with two hits).
***Dyson became the 11th player in franchise history Thursday to have at least two stolen bases and a home run in the same game. The last to do it was Michael Saunders in 2012 at San Diego.
***Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson has hits in all seven of his career games against the Mariners. He is 13-for-30 (.433) after going 3-for-4 in Thursday’s game.
***Third baseman Todd Frazier also rakes the Mariners. He had a double and a homer Thursday in four at-bats and is batting .350 (14-for-40) in 10 career games against them with five homers and 12 RBIs.
***The first 15,000 fans through the gates Friday receive a Kuma Bear hooded sweatshirt. The promotional giveaway alludes to Hisashi Iwakuma’s nickname, Kuma, which means bear in Japanese.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners