The Seattle Mariners looked like a legitimate American League offensive attack on Tuesday night at Comerica Park. The Mariners banged out 10 hits, including six extra base hits and two homers. That's not exactly the Mariners we are used to seeing.
Will it happen again? Past results say, probably not. But for a night, the Mariners were, well, entertaining.
“We just have to stick with it, we can’t change,” said third baseman Chone Figgins, who had a key two-run triple in the fifth inning. “We have to stick with it and battle, and we’ll go through a stretch where we’ll maybe get 10 hits a game. We just have to stick with it, till it comes.”
Ok, let's not go crazy here, Chone.
It may come again if the Mariners get a chance to face Phil Coke one more time. The Tigers starter was roughed up by Seattle for the second straight start, giving up seven runs on eight hits, while. Just five days ago at Safeco Field, Coke was shelled for six runs (only two were earned) on six hits, while walking four and lasting just 3 2/3 innings.
Obviously, the Miguel Olivo "homer" will be shown several times over the course of the next few days. Olivo had hit the ball hard in recent games. On Sunday, he hit a gap shot to right-center in Safeco that Coco Crisp made a brilliant running catch to rob him. So he finally got a break thanks to Ryan Raburn.
“I saw when the ball hit his glove and I thought he caught it,” Olivo said of his first homer of the season. “It’s so obvious. All the balls I hit, everyone catches. Then I saw the second base umpire giving the home run sign and I said, ‘thank God, my luck has come back.’ See I just need to keep hitting the ball and see what happens.”
Of course, hitting the ball and having that happen is pretty rare.
“This is the first time I’ve seen that,” Olivo said. “Well, I’ve seen the Canseco play.”
Ahh yes, everyone has seen the infamous play where then Texas Ranger outfielder Jose Canseco had the ball bounce off his head and over the fence against Cleveland on May 26, 1993 for home run.
Raburn’s ricochet won’t go down in perpetuity quite like Canseco’s header. But it will be a presence on blooper reels for years to come.
“I haven’t seen it,” Olivo said. “I don’t want to see it.”
While Olivo’s “homer” will draw plenty of laughs, it was Justin Smoak’s two-run homer in the fourth inning that drew goose bumps.
The slugging first baseman was playing his first game since having to bury his father, Keith, who lost a long battle with lung cancer last week.
Smoak may have been playing with a heavy heart, but there was no rust on his bat following the seven day layoff on the bereavement list where he missed six games.
“When he hit it, I got chills,” Olivo said. “I think his father did that for him. I went to him at home plate, I said ‘hey, that’s for papa.’ I’m just so happy for him.”
Smoak, who asked to have only baseball-related questions asked pre and postgame, was just happy to be focused on something other mourning.
“It felt good,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot in the past week. It felt good, getting back and getting in the swing of things again. It’s hard not to think about it, but things happen for a reason. I’m excited to be back and with the guys here. I’m going to try to keep my mind off everything and take care of business here.”
The Mariners broke open a 3-3 game in the fifth thanks to Figgins two-run triple to center.
“He thought he had a chance to catch it at first,” said Figgins, who later scored on a botched pickoff throw to first. “But once I saw the back of his jersey, I knew I had a chance of burning him.”
It was Figgins’ first triple of the season.
“I was tired,” he said. “I haven’t hit a triple in so long. It feels good to keep swinging the bat good and finally get results from it.”
The offensive outburst is a little payback to starter Felix Hernandez, who endured too many starts without any. Following a start where he threw 126 pitches, Felix wasn't quite as sharp. He wouldn't use the previous start as a reason. It was the command of his breaking ball that caused him issues.
“I didn’t have a good feel for my breaking ball,” Hernandez said. “I had a good sinker. But my breaking ball wasn’t there.”
He noticed it before the game started as he warmed up in the bullpen.
“I didn’t throw even one strike in the bullpen,” Hernandez said. “I was like, ‘whoa, something is going on right now.’ I was just trying to battle. I was trying to throw the most innings I can.”
He made it six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits, while striking out four and walked two.
"I didn’t have my stuff today," he said. "But I just battled, battled and battled and we won the game."