Seattle Mariners

Top to bottom 'it's a pretty interesting lineup.' Mariners got a lot of Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz for season-high 12 runs

Seattle Mariners' Kyle Seager, right, hugs Nelson Cruz after Seager hit a two-run home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Zach McAllister in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Cleveland. Robinson Cano scored on the play. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Seattle Mariners' Kyle Seager, right, hugs Nelson Cruz after Seager hit a two-run home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Zach McAllister in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Cleveland. Robinson Cano scored on the play. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Seattle Mariners had enough of all these one-run games against the Cleveland Indians.

And they have destroyed Carlos Carrasco’s earned-run average.

Carrasco is going to have nightmares about facing the Mariners. He’s allowed nine runs in two starts against them this year … he’s allowed a combined four runs in his other four starts.

And the Mariners also ended his string of 10 consecutive starts without a losing decision, scoring a season-high in their 12-4 victory on Saturday at Progressive Field.

Seattle (15-11) will go for the series win on Sunday, and it improved to 6-3 on their road trip.

And the Mariners didn’t even have all of their offense clicking.

“It’s not like one guy has to carry the load on this club,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters afterward. “We’ve seen what Mitch Haniger can do and Nelson Cruz today, and Robby (Cano) has probably been our most consistent guy all year.

“We have a good thing going offensively right now.”

This should be telling about how good the Mariners’ offense can be: Haniger entered Saturday tied for second in the majors in RBIs and he didn’t drive in or score any of the Mariners’ 12 runs.

Instead, Jean Segura tied a career high with four RBI, and in the first inning he hit his second home run of the year. Nelson Cruz followed two batters later with his fifth home run.

“He’s one of the toughest pitchers in the league,” Cruz said of Carrasco. “We just hit everything. You can’t always explain why, but we found a way to score runs.”

Cruz thought about that a little more.

“We have a pretty good lineup,” Cruz said. “We can hit the ball gap to gap and that makes it difficult for pitchers.”

Yet, that wasn’t even half as many homers as the five the Indians hit on Friday in the first inning.

The Mariners led 3-0 entering the third inning when Cano’s sacrifice fly scored Dee Gordon from third, after Gordon stole a base for the 10th time this year.

Then Segura stole second and Cruz smoked a single to score him – 5-1 Mariners.

But the game might as well have ended in the fourth.

The Mariners added five more runs. Gordon doubled and Segura followed with a two-run single (he started the game 3-for-3). Cano then launched an opposite-field double to the wall to score Segura and Kyle Seager got in on the home-run action – using a 32-degree launch angle (that’s really high) for a two-run homer into the wind in right field.

That gave Seager sole possession of the sixth-most home runs in Mariners history (157). He needs four more to pass Alvin Davis for fifth-most.

And it gave the Mariners a 10-1 lead.

Later Ryon Healy hit his first home run of the season.

“Top to bottom – it’s a pretty interesting lineup what we can do,” Servais said. “It’s not going to be one guy every day. Everybody can contribute.”

Mariners starter Mike Leake allowed a two-run home run to former Mariner Yonder Alonso the bottom half of the inning, but he had plenty of margin to work with thanks to the offense.

A quick note on Alonso: He’s hit four home runs against the Mariners in six games against his former team this season – including a homer in each of the three games so far of this series and a grand slam in the season-opening one.

Leake lasted at least six innings for the fourth time in his six starts this season. He allowed six hits and four runs with six strikeouts, though he didn’t join himself (against the Indians on April 1) as the only Mariners starters to last seven innings in a game.

“When you can go out and get a lead like that, you don’t necessarily work on things, but you can be in more of an aggressive mode and take some chances,” Leake said.

Leake pitched 3 1/3 innings his last start on Monday against the White Sox, when he allowed eight runs on 12 hits.

A couple takeaways:

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Seattle Mariners' Nelson Cruz hits a solo home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Heating up: Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz were pictured together huddled next to a heater in the Mariners’ dugout before the chilly game in Cleveland.

There’s something to that.

Those two combined for seven hits, six RBIs and four runs scored in the game, with both hitting home runs in the first inning.

Segura was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and tied a career-high with four RBIs.

Cruz was 4-for-5 with the home run and a double, pushing his batting average to .290.

One of his base hits had a 116.9 mph exit velocity. Only five other balls had been hit harder entering Saturday, and all of those were home runs (the Yankees Giancarlo Stanton had an MLB-best 117.9 exit velocity on a 458-foot home run).

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="ht" dir="ltr"> Just listen.<br><br>109.4 mph<br>114.8 mph<br>116.9 mph<br>114.1 mph <a href="https://t.co/B3Tf042ZIf">pic.twitter.com/B3Tf042ZIf</a></p>&mdash; Mariners (@Mariners) <a href="https://twitter.com/Mariners/status/990376365248733185?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 28, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

And the Mariners have now faced two-time reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber twice, Carlos Carrasco twice and Trevor Bauer once. All three of those pitches entered Saturday among the top-10 in the American League in ERA.

The Mariners have averaged 5.8 runs in games against them.

“The top-end pitchers in the league, I’ve said this a lot but you got to get to them early,” Servais said. “And I thought we were aggressive early in the game.”

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Seattle Mariners' Ryon Healy, right, is congratulated by Ben Gamel after Healy hit a two-run home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Dan Otero during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Cleveland. Gamel scored on the homer. The Mariners won 12-4. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Healthy Healy: Since returning to the Mariners lineup from his sprained ankle, Ryon Healy has a hit in each of his three games – and he hit his first home run with the Mariners.

He hit 25 of them last year with the Oakland Athletics, but he charged a homer over the center-field wall in the ninth inning for his first since heading to Seattle in an offseason trade.

Healy had one of the Mariners’ four home runs, joining Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.

The last time they hit four home runs in Cleveland: Rickey Henderson was their leadoff hitter. It was Aug. 18, 2000, and the Indians started Bartolo Colon, who is now a 45-year-old pitcher for the Rangers.

The home runs were hit by Al Martin, Carlos Guillen, Edgar Martinez and Dan Wilson.

Pen is mighty: James Pazos, Nick Vincent and Chasen Bradford combined to pitch three scoreless innings without allowing a hit.

In their past six games, the Mariners’ bullpen has struck out 28 batters while walking only two, while holding opponents to a .169 batting average (12-for-71). They’ve allowed four runs in 25 innings (1.44 ERA).

That’s not to mention Edwin Diaz entered the day leading the majors with 11 saves and Juan Nicasio had an MLB-best 10 holds.

Play of the game: Dee Gordon led off with a single and that made Carlos Carrasco rush to the plate, at least Segura thought. How can you not with Gordon later in the game getting his 10th stolen base – most in the American League.

So Segura then got a fastball down the middle of the plate and he sent it over the wall in center field for a home run.

Call that the play of the game since it was the tone-setter. Nelson Cruz followed two batters later with a solo home run.

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Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Top pitcher: It wasn’t a perfect day for Mariners starter Mike Leake, but he did bounce back from his last start with six innings, allowing six runs, four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

“He had a good two-seam fastball and his curveball early on was good,” Servais said. “He went six innings and gets the win but I thought the line, I thought he was better than what he put up.”

Top hitter: So many to choose from.

Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 with a home run and two smoked singles, including one that scored a run. He raised his batting average to .290.

That shouldn’t take away from Jean Segura’s day. Segura was 3-for-5 with the two-run homer, four RBIs and three runs scored. Segura has at least one hit in eight of the nine games on the Mariners’ 10-game road trip.

Quotable: The real reason Jean Segura hit a home run his first at-bat?

“It’s too cold,” he said on the Root Sports broadcast after. “I don’t want to stay around the bases.

“That was good. I got a ball up in the zone and put a good swing on it and put it out of the ball park.”

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
@TJCotterill
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