If the Mariners hit a home run tonight, which seems likely with old friend Erik Bedard pitching, they will run their franchise record streak of games with a home run to 24 - dating back to June 20. It would match the fifth longest home streak in MLB history held by the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers which featured Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese.
“It’s something that’s never been done before with the Mariners," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "There have been so many great teams and players here I think it says a lot about our current roster. It’s a level of consistency, which is rare, to be driving the ball and hitting the ball out of the ballpark. And you have to put together good Abs, a volume of good at-bats together to get your hits. It’s not just hitting the ball hard and making it go a long way. There’s a lot more that goes into it than that. I think it’s one hell of an accomplishment.”
During the streak, the Mariners have blasted 41 home runs. They have hit the second most homers in all of baseball this season with 119. Baltimore leads MLB with 133.
Brad Miller has accounted for two of those homers - both coming in Friday night's win.
He was able to get both balls back.
"I don’t know how they did it. I guess they pried it from some little kids or something," he joked.
Well it wasn't quite that dramatic.
The first homer was hit into the upper deck. The fan who caught the ball was ushered down to the Mariners clubhouse where he traded the home run ball for an autographed ball from Miller, a Mariners game cap and t-shirt.
"I'll make that trade any day," Miller said.
The other ball was tossed back onto the field by a disgusted fan.
He's already decided who he's going to give them to. One was handed to his father, who has traveled on every road trip since he's been called up.
"I don't think he even has a job anymore," Miller said.
And the other?
"I’m going to give one to my grandma back home," he said. "That will be cool because she was watching."
Miller's exploits were featured prominently on ESPN and the MLB Network. Though he didn't spend much time looking for them.
"I didn't watch," he said. "I watched the video of the second one, though. Honestly, I didn’t know off the bat how close (Justin) Maxwell was. I’m glad that thing just got over his head, for sure.
It prompted plenty of calls and texts from friends and family.
"I got a good amount," he said. "Just people saying congrats and that we have a lot o f Mariners fans in Orlando. I was pretty pumped about that. It’s just cool hearing from old coaches, and old teammates, and buddies back home who are just excited as I was. That’s really cool."
Zunino showing patience
Mike Zunino isn't known as being a patient, selective hitter. The young catcher likes to hit the ball hard. So for him to take three walks in Friday's win was a bit of a surprise. Even more so if you consider the fact that Zunino had taken just four walks in 24 games big league games since being called up.
"I was joking around with some guys. I couldn’t tell you when my last one was," he said. "I was joking that I should have had four. I chased a slider. I don’t remember ever having four, so that would have been something else.”
Zunino actually had three walks in a game this season while playing for the Tacoma Rainiers. He walked three times on April 18 against Fresno. In 47 games with the Rainiers, Zunino walked just 14 times.
He knows he needs to be more selective at the plate.
“You’ve just got to be patient and pick the pitches you want to look for and stick with that.," he said. "Obviously it’s easy to get too aggressive, but you just have to stick to your approach and wait for that one pitch.”
Zunino knows pitchers are using offspeed low and away once they get two strikes on him. He's trying to make the adjustment.
“For the past week or so, that’s what I’ve seen mostly," Zunino said. "So I’ve got to still hunt the fastball, but hopefully see breaking balls up in the zone and be able to hit them to right field.”