5 best games by hitters in Mariners history
SEATTLE -- The Mariners have had plenty of offensive talent through the years, including some of the best to play the game, which paved way to some iconic moments on a few Hall of Fame résumés.
As such, there have been a handful of individual performances worth recognizing.
Here is a look at the five best days at the dish that Seattle players have had since the franchise’s inception in 1977:
1) Mike Cameron
May 2, 2002 at White Sox
4-for-5, 4 HRs, 4 RBIs, 1 HBP, 4 R
Cameron’s four-homer game was a story of coming full circle in a way. He overcame the odds to star in the Majors despite being drafted in the 18th round in 1991, solidified himself as Ken Griffey Jr.’s replacement in center field for Seattle and he accomplished his four-homer game against the White Sox, who drafted him.
There have been 18 four-homer games in MLB history, but Cameron’s was perhaps the most unique. He reached the milestone in the fifth inning (after crushing two homers in the first), all four were solo shots and he went back to back with Bret Boone twice in the first inning, which made them the only MLB players to do so in the same game -- a record that still stands.
Cameron remains the only Mariners player in the four-homer-game club.
2) Edgar Martinez
Oct. 7, 1995 vs. Yankees
3-for-4, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, 1 BB, 2 R
Everyone remembers Martinez's “hit that saved Seattle” -- the 11th-inning double that powered the Mariners past the mighty Yankees and into the American League Championship Series in 1995. It’s the most iconic and dramatic moment in franchise history. But there was arguably an even more important Martinez moment that was equally significant and certainly just as clutch one day prior, in Game 4 of the AL Division Series, when Seattle also faced elimination.
The game was tied at 6 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, and after Vince Coleman walked, Joey Cora singled and Griffey was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded for Martinez, who crushed a grand slam (with two strikes, to boot) to help push the Mariners to an 11-8 win that earlier in the afternoon seemed impossible. Back in the third inning, Seattle trailed, 5-0, when Martinez hit a three-run homer that ignited its offensive spark.
That day, Martinez became the first player in MLB history with seven RBIs in a postseason game, and only four others have matched that feat since. The club record for RBIs in a game is eight, done three times, all in the regular season (Cameron, Mike Blowers and Alvin Davis).
3) Raul Ibanez
Sept. 22, 2004 at Angels
6-for-6, 5 RBIs, 1 R
Ibanez emboldened his everyday, workmanlike demeanor with a career day in Anaheim, when he became only the 33rd player in MLB history to register six hits in a nine-inning game (six more have accomplished the feat since).
The left-handed-hitting Ibanez had the kind of night hitters dream of -- the ball had to look like a balloon, as each of his six hits had a unique flair. He sprayed each of his first three to left, right and center fields, respectively, against Bartolo Colon. Then, Ibanez golfed a breaking ball off Scott Dunn into shallow center, and he put the cap on the evening by punching a high-and-tight fastball from Dunn into right. The only thing missing might’ve been a homer.
Ibanez still holds the Mariners’ record number of hits in a single game, and only one other player has notched seven in a nine-inning game in the Modern Era (since 1900): the Pirates’ Rennie Stennett in '75.
4) Adrián Beltré
Sept. 1, 2008 at Rangers
5-for-6, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBIs
Beltré put on a show on his first big show in Arlington -- before he became a member of the Rangers -- by hitting for the fourth cycle in Mariners history in a 12-6 win over the Rangers. He joined a select Seattle crew of John Olerud (2001), Alex Rodriguez (1997) and Jay Buhner (’93) as the only players in Mariners history to accomplish the feat.
Beltré began the night with a homer off Matt Harrison in his first at-bat, then he singled his next two times up and doubled off Luis Mendoza to put him on cycle watch -- classically, a triple shy. He roped a three-bagger in the top of the eighth that scored Ibanez.
We gave this extra consideration given that this was the first of Beltré’s three cycles -- and he is one of only three players in MLB history in the three-cycle club.
5) Ken Griffey Jr.
May 24, 1996 vs. Yankees
4-for-4, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 R
Griffey always stepped up big when it counted. A raucous Kingdome crowd of 44,236 could attest when the Mariners played the Yankees for the first time in Seattle following Martinez’s postseason heroics the year prior. That three-homer night in 1996 was among the biggest of Griffey’s career.
Griffey's first homer was so majestic that Yanks manager Joe Torre tipped his cap -- though that admiration quickly turned into frustration, as the Mariners surged to a 10-4 win.
Griffey also homered three times in an April 25, 1997 win over the Blue Jays during his AL MVP season, but we included this one against the Yanks because he drove in six runs (tying his career best with the Mariners), and because Griffey has since shared his reproved feelings about the Yanks.