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Mariners' homer mojo returns in sweep of A's

@gregjohnsmlb
May 15, 2019

SEATTLE -- While things have been a little dark of late for the Mariners, the power was back on at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday as Seattle bashed three home runs in a 4-3 win to complete a two-game sweep of the A’s. The Mariners rode the long ball early and

SEATTLE -- While things have been a little dark of late for the Mariners, the power was back on at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday as Seattle bashed three home runs in a 4-3 win to complete a two-game sweep of the A’s.

The Mariners rode the long ball early and often to start the season, but that offensive firepower had cooled considerably over the past three weeks. After hitting 56 homers in their first 25 games, that number dipped to 24 in the past 19 games, with the Mariners going 5-14 in that stretch.

Box score

But a two-run blast by Mitch Haniger and solo shots by Daniel Vogelbach and Tim Beckham provided the punch for right-hander Mike Leake, who held the A’s to five hits and three runs (one earned) with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

“We went through a little skid there where we didn’t swing the bats as good as we wanted,” said Vogelbach. “But it’s not like they went anywhere. Guys in the lineup can all hit. It’s baseball. You go through ups and downs. I think things have kind of started to turn for the better.”

The Mariners did their long-ball damage against A’s lefty Brett Anderson, who had allowed just one homer in 43 innings over his first eight starts, the lowest home run ratio in the Majors.

Leake, on the flip side, had given up 11 homers -- second most in the Majors -- coming into the game, but he kept the A’s in the yard and picked up his first victory since back-to-back wins to open the season. He’s now 3-4 with a 4.00 ERA.

“Mike Leake had probably his best outing of the year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “His breaking ball was really good, outstanding mix of pitches, really good tempo. And we hit enough home runs to hold them off tonight. It was a nice win coming off that road trip, to bounce back.”

Beckham, starting at second base in place of the injured Dee Gordon, short-hopped a throw after backhanding a grounder up the middle by Marcus Semien in the fifth and two unearned runs crossed the plate to tie the game at 2 when first baseman Edwin Encarnacion couldn’t come up with the scoop.

But Haniger untied things in a hurry with a 428-foot rocket into the second deck in left. The two-run bolt was his second homer in the past two games and 11th of the season.

Beckham went 2-for-3 with a double and his eighth homer of the year, with the second-inning blast snapping an 0-for-14 slump. Vogelbach led off the second with his 11th homer of the season and second in the past two days.

The win lifts Seattle to 22-23 and 4-0 against the A’s, who are 19-25 and just 1-11 in their last 12 road games.

Elias racks up the rare seven-out save

Roenis Elias entered the game with the bases loaded in the seventh and struck out pinch-hitter Chad Pinder to preserve the 4-3 lead, then he wound up staying in the game the rest of the way to earn a seven-out save.

As a former starter, Elias is capable of pitching multiple innings, and he has turned into a versatile bullpen weapon. The left-hander has a 2.78 ERA in 22 2/3 innings over 18 outings and leads the team with five saves.

“At the beginning, it was a little tough,” Elias said of the bullpen transition. “But now I’ve gotten used to it. I just go to the bullpen and get ready from inning one, because I don’t know when I’ll come into the game. And so far, so good.”

Elias struck out the side in the eighth and escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the ninth with a double-play grounder by Josh Phegley for his fifth save of the season. The last seven-out save in a one-run game by the Mariners came from Bob Wells in 1997.

“That’s when he’s at his best -- when you can run him out there and let him get on a roll,” Servais said. “He had really good stuff tonight. It was a really good outing for him. He really saved the game for us, literally.”

Servais said the plan going into the game was to let Elias pitch the final few innings if things went right, and that played out perfectly as he finished things off with a fastball that was popping at 96 mph and some wicked offspeed offerings, including a 76 mph curve that froze Matt Chapman for one of Elias’ five strikeouts in the 30-pitch outing.

“We’re just looking to ride a hot hand right now,” Servais said as the team continues looking for ways to close out games. “But Elias has probably been our most consistent guy down there, from the start of the season to today.”

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.