Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners 7, Rangers 5: Lee’s charm produces two homers

Dae-He Lee got a second round of high-fives in the Mariners’ dugout when he hit his second home run of the game —a three-run shot in the fourth inning.
Dae-He Lee got a second round of high-fives in the Mariners’ dugout when he hit his second home run of the game —a three-run shot in the fourth inning. AP

SEATTLE — On a Friday night that offered the lure of post-game fireworks, Dae-Ho Lee helped the Mariners carve a niche into baseball history by hitting two homers in a 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers.

The Mariners are the first club in major-league history to get two homers from four different players in four successive games in the same season. First as in ever.

Lee’s first homer was a solo shot that opened the scoring in the second inning. His second was a three-run bomb in the fourth inning after the Rangers pulled even on an Ian Desmond shot.

Now here’s the twist.

Lee showed up Friday with a bundle of necklace charms from his native Korea and distributed them to teammates. He was wearing his during the game.

"I gave one to all of my teammates," Lee said. "It helps the blood circulation. It helps you hit as well."

Kyle Seager followed Lee’s second blast with another homer — all three came against Texas starter Derek Holland — but it was Lee’s second homer that produced the record.

Seager wasn’t wearing his charm, but…

"After he hit two homers," Seager said, "I think everybody on the team is going to wear one (Saturday). It was working. It was circulating."

It’s rare enough for a club to get multiple homers from players in four straight games. The Chicago Cubs did it in 1998, and the Cleveland Indians did it in 2000.

But each time, at least one player did it twice. Sammy Sosa had two multi-homer games for the Cubs; while Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez alternated two-homer games for the Indians.

The Mariners got two-homer games from four different players: Nelson Cruz on Tuesday; Chris Iannetta on Wednesday and Robinson Cano on Thursday before Lee’s second career two-homer game.

Major League Baseball generally restricts consecutive-game records to the same season. If you want to stretch the point, the 1985-86 Detroit Tigers did it: two games at the end of one year, and two games at the start of another.

And in the Tigers’ case, it was four different players.

By any measure…pretty rare.

Lee’s two homers backed a strong outing from Hisashi Iwakuma, who won his rematch against Holland. The two hooked up last Sunday at Texas, when the Rangers completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory.

"Obviously, we have to get them back for the three games that we missed in Texas," Iwakuma said. "I’m glad I was able to win the first game."

It didn’t come easily.

Iwakuma (5-5) carried a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning and had retired 10 in a row before yielding homers to Ryan Rua and Mitch Moreland.

Nick Vincent inherited a 5-3 lead to start the eighth but quickly ran into trouble. Jurickson Profar led off with a single off Lee’s glove at first. Profar scored on Ian Desmond’s double into the right-center gap.

"(Desmond) is swinging the bat well," Vincent said, "but it’s a pitch that was up and out (over the plate). A lot of hitters are going to hit that."

The lead was down to one, but Vincent retired the next two hitters before the Mariners went to closer Steve Cishek for a four-out save. Cishek got the game to the ninth by retiring Rua on a fly to right.

The Mariners answered by redeeming two gift runs in their eighth. The rally started when Cruz reached on a wild pitch from Shawn Tolleson after a swinging third strike.

Cruz moved to second on a grounder, which prompted an intentional walk to Seager before Iannetta grounded a single through the left side. Cruz initially held at third but scored on Rua’s wild throw to the plate.

Seager moved to third on the error and scored on Seth Smith’s sacrifice fly to center. That proved Cishek with a three-run cushion; he gave one run back on another Moreland homer before securing his 14th save in 17 chances.

The victory pulled the Mariners to within three games of first-place Texas.

Holland (5-5) gave up five runs and five hits in five innings.

Lee’s first homer came when he drove a full-count sinker over the left-center wall with one out int the second inning. Texas answered with two outs in the third when Desmond crushed a no-doubter to left.

Nomar Mazara followed with a line double into the right-field corner, but Iwakuma escaped further damage when Rougned Odor grounded to first.

Cano started the four-run fourth with a walk and went to second on Cruz’s single to right. Lee and Seager followed with homers for a 5-1 lead.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Center fielder Leonys Martin marked his return from the disabled list by sprinting into the left-center gap to run down Rougned Odor’s two-out drive in the first inning.

It was a quick test to gauge Martin’s recovery for a strained left hamstring. He made the catch easily.

PLUS: The Mariners lead the majors with 92 homers, but they had not hit back-to-back homers this season until Dae-Ho Lee and Kyle Seager went deep in the fourth inning against Texas starter Derek Holland…

MINUS: Mariners pitchers served up four homers, including three by starter Hisashi Iwakuma…center fielder Leonys Martin was 0-for-4 in his first game back from the disabled list.

STAT PACK: Dae-Ho Lee equaled a career high with four RBIs. He also had four on June 2 in the remarkable comeback at San Diego. when the Mariners rallied from a 10-run deficit for a 16-13 victory.

QUOTABLE: "Dae-Ho (Lee) brings a Korean gift in about every two or three weeks," manager Scott Servais said. "Sunglasses. Some USB thing from Korea. Today these (charm necklaces) showed up.

"I don’t know exactly what it is, but if he hits two home runs every time…"

SHORT HOPS: For just the sixth time in 109 career saves, Mariners closer Steve Cishek recorded more than three outs…despite the loss, Texas matched a franchise record for its best record through 61 games at 37-24…the Rangers’ three errors matched a season worst.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners