After a sluggish four-game stretch that turned a great homestand into a good one, the Mariners broke loose Monday in a 14-3 romp over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Every starter contributed to a 19-hit attack. Ben Gamel and Mitch Haniger set the tone atop the lineup. The two combined to reach base nine times and score seven runs.
"We didn’t quit all night," Gamel said. "I don’t even know what the final score was. I know we ran it up pretty good."
Nelson Cruz drove in four runs and, at least temporarily, reclaimed the American League lead with 50 RBIs. New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge began the day with 47.
Never miss a local story.
Danny Valencia also drove in three runs. Valencia and Mike Zunino hit home runs on back-to-back pitches in the eighth inning against reliever Craig Breslow.
Haniger was 4-for-6 in his second game since returning from a 6 1/2-week absence because of a strained right oblique muscle.
"It feels good to be back," he said. "The first couple of (rehab) games in Tacoma, I was trying to get my feet under me. It’s been feeling better and better every day."
The 14 runs were a season high, and the 19 hits matched a season high.
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo (3-6) survived a rocky start and beat someone other than Oakland for the first time this season in 13 starts.
He squandered a two-run lead in the first inning but allowed just one other run before handing off a 10-3 lead in the seventh. Tony Zych, James Pazos and Steve Cishek closed out the victory.
Gallardo said he believes he began a turnaround in his previous game, also against Minnesota, except for a stretch of four batters that cost him four runs.
"The last two starts," he said, "I was able to throw the ball the way I’m used to throwing it throughout my career. Take away a couple of hitters that last start…
"I’ve been able to get deep into the ballgame and make the adjustments earlier in the game instead of having everything fall apart in that one inning. Keep moving. Keep moving forward. Build off of this start today."
The Mariners scored just seven runs while losing three of their four previous games, which forced them to settle for a 7-4 homestand after a 6-1 start.
Monday’s victory pulled them back to within one game of .500 at 32-33.
"We certainly needed it," manager Scott Servais said. "We got silenced a little bit at home in the Toronto series. I’m not totally surprised that we bounced back. A lot of good at-bats."
Gamel opened the game by working back from a 1-2 hole for a walk. Haniger followed with a squibber to the left side that Twins starter Adalberto Mejia reached easily before throwing wildly to first.
The runners wound up on second and third — and set the tone.
Robinson Cano popped to short, but Cruz grounded a two-run single up the middle before Gallardo gave it right back later in the first inning.
Brian Dozier led off with a double into the right-field corner and went to third on a wild pitch before Robbie Grossman walked. Joe Mauer tied the game with a line-drive double into the left-center gap.
The Mariners came back with four runs in the second inning for a 6-2 lead.
One-out singles by Guillermo Heredia, Tyler Smith and Gamel loaded the bases before Haniger bounced a two-run double over the center-field wall. Cano followed with an RBI single before Cruz delivered a sacrifice fly.
The Mariners knocked out Mejia (1-2) in the fourth when they scored three more runs and extended their lead to 9-2.
The rout was on.
PLAY OF THE GAME: It should be a small thing, but Gallardo covered third base in the third inning when Grossman lofted a high pop into short left field as Seager, Smith and Heredia converged on the ball.
Seager made the catch and, with Gallardo positioned at third, Dozier had to hold second. It was a routine play by Gallardo that often doesn’t occur routinely despite regular PFP (pitchers fielding practice).
PLUS: Zunino went 3-for-5 and raised his average to .233. He is 18-for-45 (.400) in his last 13 games with four homers and 16 RBIs…Tyler Smith started at shortstop over Taylor Motter and went 2-for-5…Haniger’s four hits raised his average to .348.
MINUS: Cano was 1-for-6 and left eight runners on base…Cishek had a balk and a wild pitch in the ninth inning but escaped with no damage…not much else.
STAT PACK: The Mariners were 8-for-14 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-11 in Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Toronto.
QUOTABLE: Cruz just missed a homer in the ninth inning against Chris Gimenez, a catcher summoned to pitch for the fifth time this season. Cruz hit a high drive to right that was initially struck the fencing.
It was initially called a homer, which would have extended Cruz’s homer streak at Target Field to seven games. The umpires conferred and changed the call to a double.
"All fastballs," he laughed. "I got my pitch two times."
SHORT HOPS: MLB changed the scoring on the play Saturday when an inattentive collection of Mariners enabled Toronto’s Jose Bautista to take second base after a walk. Bautista now credited with a stolen base. Had previously been scored a fielder’s choice.
MINOR DETAILS: Lo-A Clinton right-hander Robert Dugger was added to the Western Division team for the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 20 at Great Lakes. Dugger, 21, was an 18th-round pick in 2016 and is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 16 games, including three starts. He joins three previous Clinton selections: right-hander Brandon Miller, left-hander Danny Garcia and outfielder Anthony Jimenez…Hi-A Modesto lefty Anthony Misiewicz was picked as the California League pitcher of the week for June 5-11. It marked his second selection of the season. Misiewicz pitched seven scoreless innings against Stockton (Athletics) in his only start of the week. He previously won the award for May 1-7.
ON DECK: The Mariners and Twins continue their four-game series at 5:10 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday at Target Field.
Right-hander Christian Bergman (3-3 with a 4.03 ERA) will oppose Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson (3-4, 6.52) in a rematch of their June 8 duel at Safeco Field.
Gibson held the Mariners to one run in six innings in a 2-1 victory. Bergman allowed one earned run (two overall) in five innings.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners