Ichiro, Edgar, Griffey Jr. ... and now Seager

2-hit game moves 10-year Mariner into fourth on club's all-time hits list

September 7th, 2020

SEATTLE -- On a young Mariners team loaded with rookies, stands out as the one position player with history. And a lot of hits.

The 32-year-old Seager laced a two-run homer and a single in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Rangers at T-Mobile Park, moving past Jay Buhner for fourth place on the Mariners’ all-time hit list. The only players ahead of him are Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr.

That’s good company for the veteran third baseman, who fittingly was filling in at designated hitter on Sunday as he raised his hit total to 1,256 in 10 seasons in Seattle.

“It’s very humbling,” Seager said. “I’m extremely proud and honored to be in that group. That’s extremely elite company, and I’m proud to be part of that.”

The other eight starters in Seattle’s lineup on Sunday have a combined 513 career hits, though that young group has now won 11 of its past 15 games to raise its record to 18-22 with 20 games remaining.

The Mariners suddenly find themselves just three games back of Houston for the American League West's second postseason berth. And while manager Scott Servais said the club remains focused on its rebuilding efforts and learning what this young group can do, there’s no question that Seager is providing a steadying influence in the middle of the lineup while batting .281 with six home runs and a team-leading 28 RBIs.

“He’s having a great year,” Servais said. “We’ve seen Kyle have some phenomenal years, maybe hit a ton of homers or play great defense. He’s done a little bit of everything this year. He’s way more consistent at the plate. You don’t see the big swing, the ups and downs where he gets hot for 10 days and then cools off.

“A lot of that is attributed to his approach and ability to use the whole field more consistently. It’s a credit to him, making adjustments throughout his career. You can’t think you’ve got it figured out just because you’re 28 or 29 years old. He’s continued to make adjustments, and it’s great when guys get results when they’re willing to do that.”

Seager’s first-inning blast off Jordan Lyles was projected at 393 feet, per Statcast. And while it wasn’t as majestic as the 433-foot blast into the upper right-field deck by the Rangers’ Joey Gallo or a 424-foot drive over the center-field fence by teammate , those long balls did less damage than Seager’s two-run drive.

The homers by Seager and Lewis gave rookie starter just enough support to get the win as he allowed two runs over six innings with four hits and four walks. The 24-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA over his last three starts, allowing just six hits in 18 innings.

Seattle’s defense also continued to shine, as the Mariners cut down the potential tying run at the plate in the seventh, when Derek Dietrich tried to score from first on a double by Leody Taveras off reliever Anthony Misiewicz. Lewis cut the ball off in center field before it could get to the wall, then fired to shortstop J.P Crawford, whose strong relay throw to catcher Joseph Odom easily beat Dietrich to the plate.

“We’ve been playing some really good baseball these last few weeks and starting to see the results we want to see,” Dunn said. “It’s all starting to come together. That relay was beautiful. Our defense has been great.”

The Mariners have allowed just 11 runs in while winning five straight. Servais continues pointing to pitching and defense, saying the relay play to nail Dietrich was another great example of how different the youthful Mariners are this year.

“It’s fun to see those guys in the dugout,” he said. “They were about as excited that they executed that play as they would be anytime seeing those guys hit a home run. It really meant a lot to them.”