It was Star Wars Night on Thursday at Safeco Field. May 4th. Get it? May the Fourth be with you. So some strange sights.
None stranger, perhaps, than the Mariners cruising to a blowout victory. There haven’t been many of those. Maybe there was some carry-over from Wednesday’s winning roller-coaster ride.
Lefty Ariel Miranda rallied from a shaky start by matching a career high with seven innings, and the Mariners rocked their way to 16 hits in a balanced attack that produced an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Danny Valencia had four hits, including a booming home run, while driving in three runs.
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"It’s no secret that we have a really good offense," he said. "When everybody is clicking, we can score 10 runs easily. Today, obviously, was a good day for the offense.
"We’ve just got to keep it rolling and keep winning games."
Oh, it was clicking.
Nelson Cruz, Guillermo Heredia and Ben Gamel each contributed two RBIs. Heredia and and Gamel each had three hits. It was enough to turn Robinson Cano’s 0-for-5 into a footnote.
"The line was just turning it over to one another," Gamel said. "It was good at-bat after good at-bat. It was an awesome night for the whole lineup, and Miranda pitched a heck of a game."
Valencia's home run reached the upper deck in left field. Maybe he’s finding his form after a rough first month-plus.
And just maybe the same is true for the Mariners, who bounced back to win the three-game series after allowing Tuesday’s opener to slip away in extra innings.
Miranda (3-2) gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings against an Angels lineup that lacked reigning MVP Mike Trout, who is nursing a tight hamstring.
"To get through seven innings when his pitch count was up after the first two innings," manager Scott Servais said, "was really nice to see. Our bullpen needed it.
"A big offensive night by Gamel and Valencia. A lot of guys chipped in."
The Mariners built a 6-2 lead through four innings against Angels starter Alex Meyer, who gave up eight hits and walked three. Heredia’s two-run double in a three-run third was the key blow.
Miranda’s only real trouble came in the second inning after Cruz’s RBI single in the first provided the Mariners with a 1-0 lead.
LA answered with two runs when Juan Graterol blooped a two-out single to left with runners on second and third. Yunel Escobar then hit a liner that struck Miranda in the left calf.
Miranda recovered and made a wild throw to first that allowed Graterol to reach third. After an exam at the mound, Miranda remained in the game, stranded both runners and permitted just two hits over the next four innings.
"It hurts a little bit," Miranda said, "but it just worked me up a little bit more. I wasn’t very aggressive. After that, I was able to make some adjustments and get through the inning."
The Mariners regained the lead at 4-2 by scoring three two-out runs in the third inning. After Gamel’s leadoff walk, Kyle Seager and Valencia had two-out singles, which tied the game.
First baseman Jefry Marte missed a chance to end the inning when he couldn’t catch Heredia’s foul pop that landed one row into the stands. Heredia followed with a bloop double to right that scored two runs.
The Mariners stretched their lead to 6-2 in the fourth inning.
Jean Segura lined a one-out single and came all the way around on Gamel’s double past first into the right-field corner. Cruz added a two-out RBI single.
The Mariners made it 7-2 in the sixth inning against reliever Daniel Wright after Segura and Gamel opened the inning with singles. Cano grounded into a double play, but Segura scored.
Valencia’s homer came with one out in the seventh and, after reliever Tony Zych allowed one run in the eighth, the Mariners answered with three runs. The Force was strong on this night.
"We had guys on base all night," Servais said. "It was a good offensive night."
PLAY OF THE GAME: A pop-fly overthrow by Angels left fielder Ben Revere to the plate in the third inning on Valencia’s single not only allowed Gamel to score easily.
It also permitted Seager and Valencia to take an extra base, which put runners on second and third. Both scored easily when Heredia blooped a double to right.
PLUS: Valencia matched a career high with four hits, which he’s achieved on four previous occasions…Gamel reached base five times with three hist and two walks. He raised his average to .333…Heredia went 3-for-5 and is batting .311…Segura boosted his average to .329 by going 2-for-3. He also walked and reached when hit by a pitch…
MINUS: It’s not like the entire lineup contributed to the rout. Cano was hitless in five at-bats. Mike Zunino and Jarrod Dyson were 0-for-3.
STAT PACK: Cruz extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI double in the first inning. He is batting ..458 in the streak at 22-for-48…the Mariners matched season highs with 11 runs and 16 hits.
QUOTABLE: "The one thing is if (Miranda) gets off to a little bit of a rocky start," Servais said, "he doesn’t panic. Some guys, they will panic. He doesn’t. He stays with the program."
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners won their third straight home series…Dyson stole his ninth base, which leads the American League…Yunel Escobar had four of the Angels’ nine hits — and four of the seven hits against Miranda…Albert Pujols is hitless in 11 career at-bats against Miranda.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners