SEATTLE — It started simply enough on a spectacular sunny Tuesday afternoon at Safeco Field. Kyle Seager cashed an opportunity created by a pair of two-out walks in the first inning by delivering an RBI single.
A two-out RBI.
The Mariners got six more of those in the second inning. And another three in the third inning. By then, the game was a rout that turned into a 16-4 blowout over San Diego in closing out the front half of a four-game series.
"It was a lot of fun," said left fielder Seth Smith, who hit two of the Mariners’ five homers. "Anytime you can get ahead early and kind of keep the pressure on them, and you’ve got (Hisashi Iwakuma) out there doing his thing, you just kind of roll through the game."
All of that early two-out damage came against veteran James Shields, whom the Padres are trying to trade. Shields (2-7) gave up 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings and saw his ERA spike from 3.06 to 4.28.
"You have such a deep belief in Shields’ ability to battle out of tight situations this year and throughout his career," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "You want to give him some latitude to battle through it.
"It just wasn’t one of those days."
The Mariners then clubbed reliever Luis Perdomo for six more runs over two innings as they built their lead to 16-0 before the Padres mustered up some late chum.
The Mariners’ five homers were a season high and stretched their MLB-leading total to 77. Their 16 runs matched a franchise record at Safeco Field; they scored 16 on three previous occasions.
Seager capped the six-run second inning with a three-run shot. Smith had a three-run drive in the third that finished off Shields, and a solo shot in the fifth against Perdomo.
It was the seventh multi-homer game in Smith’s career.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run slice to right in the fourth inning against Perdomo, who also gave up a three-run shot to Adam Lind in the fifth. Afterward, the Mariners were almost sheepish in reviewing their barrage.
"Scoring runs is definitely fun," Seager allowed, "and winning is even more fun. It was definitely a good game."
Iwakuma (4-4) carried a perfect game, and a 12-0 lead, into the fifth inning before the Padres finally got a base-runner on Yangervis Solarte’s leadoff single through the left side.
After that, Iwakuma almost seemed to lose interest.
"I was able to stay focused for the first five innings," he said. "After that first hit, everything kind of went the other way."
Iwakuma lost his shutout in the sixth after Alexei Ramirez led off with a bloop single to left, and Travis Jakowski followed with a no-doubt homer to center.
Iwakuma then yielded a two-out homer to Matt Kemp, which trimmed the lead to 16-3. And Hector Sanchez led off the San Diego seventh with a homer before Iwakuma closed out the inning.
Lefty relievers Vidal Nuno and Mike Montgomery completed the victory, which enabled the Mariners to salvage a split in their eight-game homestand and improve to 30-21.
The victory also kept the Mariners one-half game behind first-place Texas in the American League West Division. The Mariners and Rangers play six times in a 10-day span starting Friday at Texas.
The decisive second inning began when Luis Sardinas and Nori Aoki reached on two-out singles against Shields, who then loaded the bases by walking Smith.
Another walk, to Robinson Cano, forced in a run before Nelson Cruz grounded a single through the left side. Aoki scored easily, and third-base coach Manny Acta gambled by sending Smith from second.
Kerwin Danley’s safe call prompted a San Diego challenge and a lengthy review (2 minutes, 51 seconds). The call stood. Not confirmed. Just not enough video evidence to overturn it. The Mariners led 4-0.
It was a key call that became far more key when Seager followed with a three-run homer. Six runs. All with two outs. That quickly, it was 7-0, and the rout was on.
PLAY OF THE GAME: The game turned when Seth Smith was called safe on a two-out play at the plate in the second inning. If he’s out, the Mariners’ lead is 3-0, and the Padres are still in the game.
It was close.
"I wasn’t sure if I touched the plate," admitted Smith, who scored from second on Nelson Cruz’s single to left. "That’s why I went back to touch it. When I felt him tag me, I didn’t know he didn’t have the ball in his glove."
Replays showed catcher Christian Bethancourt got his glove on Smith before Smith tagged the plate. The question apparently concerned the ball’s position.
"The replay decision stung us a little bit," Padres manager Andy Green said. (Bethancourt) remembers specifically putting his hand on his back and applying the tag.
"Whether or not they could see it definitively, we felt pretty good from our angle that, maybe even at the beginning, he had the ball in the glove still and then after that he had the tag."
Smith’s run made it 4-0. Kyle Seager followed with a three-run homer.
PLUS: Kyle Seager was 3-for-4 and is batting .366 (41-for-112) since April 30…Adam Lind was 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs. He is batting .333 (18-for-54) in his last 15 games with five homers and 18 RBIs…shortstop Luis Sardinas made a sparkling stop and throw from the hole to retire John Jay for the first out in the fourth inning. It preserved a perfect game at the time…Hisashi Iwakuma won for the fourth time in five decision after starting the season at 0-3.
MINUS: Not much. The Mariners failed to score in the eighth inning, when the Padres used two non-pitchers as pitchers: Christian Bethancourt, who started the game at catcher, and infielder Alexi Amarista.
STAT PACK: The Mariners’ five homers boosted their season total to 77, which leads the majors…the Mariners are 5-0 this season against National League clubs…the Mariners were 5-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
QUOTABLE: There were eight homers in the game, including five by the Mariners. That prompted a question to manager Scott Servais regarding whether Safeco Field deserves its reputation as a pitchers’ park.
"Certainly days like today when it’s sunny and it’s a little warmer," he said, "the ball does jump pretty good here at times. And we also have guys who can hit it a long way. That lines up with it as well.
"Is it fair? It’s fair if you’re winning. It’s not fair if you’re losing. How’s that? I think that’s about as simple as you can make it.
"There are some nights, and we’ve seen plenty of those, when it’s 55 degrees, and the ball into left-center hangs up there and dies. There are other days like today when it keeps going."
SHORT HOPS: When Robinson Cano walked in the first inning, he extended his streak of reaching base safely to 29 games. It is the longest active streak in the majors. Cano walked two more times before leaving the game in the sixth. He was the Mariners’ only starter who didn’t get a hit.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners
The Mariners tied a franchise record Tuesday for runs at Safeco Field in their 16-4 victory over San Diego. Here are the other occasions:
***April 22, 2001: a 16-1 victory over Detroit
***Oct. 4, 2001: a 16-1 victory over Texas
***April 22, 2002: a 16-5 victory over Anaheim
***May 31, 2016: a 16-4 victory over San Diego