Seattle Mariners

Mariners again get offense rolling early, swipe series from defending World Series champ Boston

Daniel Vogelbach, left, and Mallex Smith, right celebrate with coaches after scoring on a Mitch Haniger double in the third inning. The Seattle Mariners played the Boston Red Sox in a Major League Baseball Game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Wash., on Sunday, March 31, 2019.
Daniel Vogelbach, left, and Mallex Smith, right celebrate with coaches after scoring on a Mitch Haniger double in the third inning. The Seattle Mariners played the Boston Red Sox in a Major League Baseball Game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Wash., on Sunday, March 31, 2019. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Oh, the offense.

The Seattle Mariners have opened the 2019 season with 48 runs scored in six games, and padded that number Sunday afternoon with a series-ending 10-8 win over the Boston Red Sox.

The offensive power was again on display in front of 33,391 at T-Mobile Park as Seattle completed the series win, taking three of four from the defending World Series champions.

“What a series,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “A really unbelievable series by our offense. Our guys really swung the bats well. … We got bit hits. We hit homers. It was really fun to watch.”

Omar Narvaez cracked a three-run homer to give the Mariners an early 5-3 lead as part of a seven-run third inning, and Jay Bruce added a solo shot in the fifth, bringing Seattle’s home run total through its first six games to 15.

Only the 1998 edition of the Mariners has posted a better mark in club history, combining for 16 homers in their first six outings.

“Right now we’ve got a really good confidence and know what we can do, so everybody is basically enjoying the game,” Narvaez said.

Each of Seattle’s nine starters safely reached base Sunday, and six recorded at least one hit as the Mariners continued their aggressive run through Boston’s starting rotation — which is projected to be one of the toughest in baseball this season — by tagging Rick Porcello (0-1, 13.50 ERA) with nine runs in just 2 2/3 innings of work.

“For whatever people thing they’re doing as far as rebuilding and trading guys, look at the lineup,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “They got some hitters, some veteran guys that know what they’re doing.”

None of Boston’s starting pitchers left Seattle on Sunday evening with an ERA of less than 10.38 in their first appearances of the season.

Between Opening Day starter Chris Sale (0-1, 21.00), Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 10.80), Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 10.38) and Porcello, the Mariners scored 28 runs on as many hits and launched eight home runs.

“They won it all last year,” Servais said. “They’ve got a good team. There’s no question about that. But, our guys were ready to hit, right from the beginning of the ball game. That’s really what stood out for me.

“We have a really good game plan going into the game, guys were talking a lot amongst themselves. How are we going to attack, how are we going to beat this guy today? And that’s what it takes.”

During the four-game series against Boston, the Mariners combined for 21 extra-base hits — including five Sunday on three doubles and the two home runs. Seattle also had 33 RBIs during the series, and 10 in the finale.

Ryon Healy became the third player in club history to begin a season with an extra-base hit in each of the first six games with his double in the fourth, joining Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (seven games in 1997) and Phil Bradley (six, 1985). Healy’s six doubles in six games are a club record.

And shortstop Tim Beckham extended his hitting streak to 13 games — dating back to last September when he was with Baltimore — with a lead-off single in the eighth.

“You go up and down the lineup, everybody is contributing, and that’s what it takes to put big numbers up against a team like this,” Servais said.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.75) earned the win in his season debut, despite a pair of shaky three-run innings in the first and third. He tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs before Mariners relievers closed the final four frames.

The bullpen allowed two additional runs, including a solo homer in the sixth to reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts.

Right-handed reliever Chasen Bradford, making his season debut, notched the first save of his career in another pressure-packed ninth inning for the Mariners. Right-hander Cory Gearrin recorded one out, but loaded the bases on three walks.

Bradford walked one run in, but struck out Christian Vazquez and forced Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground out to second to end the late threat.

“I couldn’t breathe there for a minute, but it was awesome to just help this team win,” Bradford said. “That’s what we’re all trying to do. ... It wasn’t the easiest of situations, but it’s part of the game. You come in when you have to come in.”

For the third time in club history, the Mariners have opened 5-1 in the first six games of the season. The only better effort came on a 6-0 start in 1985 — which the Mariners nearly matched before a ninth-inning collapse cost them a win Friday night.

“This is a good team,” LeBlanc said. “We have a good ball club here. Whatever is being said outside of this clubhouse is just noise to us. We’re going out there expecting to score, expecting to get outs and expecting to win.”

ON TAP

The Mariners open a short two-game series against AL West rival Los Angeles at 7:10 p.m. Monday at T-Mobile Park.

Former right-handed ace Felix Hernandez (8-14, 5.55 in 2018) will make his first start of the season for Seattle. Right-hander Chris Stratton (10-10, 5.09 in 2018) will make his season debut for the Angels.

Angels slugger Mike Trout signed the richest contract in the history of North American professional sports on March 20, inking a 12-year, $426 million deal. Trout has hit the most opposing-ball park home runs of his career (20) at T-Mobile. Eight of those — another career high — have come off of Hernandez.

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