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Gamel showing he belongs atop lineup

MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first thing Seattle manager Scott Servais did when he strolled into the visitor's clubhouse at Target Field was check on rookie outfielder Ben Gamel.

The night before, Gamel had crashed into the left-field wall when making a grab in the bottom of the eighth during the Mariners' convincing victory over the Twins. Any concern of limitations at the plate as a result of the play were quickly wiped away, as he collected a pair of hits during the 6-2 loss in the series finale to Minnesota.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The first thing Seattle manager Scott Servais did when he strolled into the visitor's clubhouse at Target Field was check on rookie outfielder Ben Gamel.

The night before, Gamel had crashed into the left-field wall when making a grab in the bottom of the eighth during the Mariners' convincing victory over the Twins. Any concern of limitations at the plate as a result of the play were quickly wiped away, as he collected a pair of hits during the 6-2 loss in the series finale to Minnesota.

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"When you are 25, you bounce back quicker than some of these older guys," Servais said. "The way he's swinging the bat, I figured he didn't want to be taken out of the lineup."

Since making his season debut on April 26, Gamel is batting .345 with an .881 OPS. He has scored 29 runs and recorded 20 RBIs. Entering Thursday, he boasted the best on-base percentage in the American League since being promoted.

On an afternoon when Seattle was unable to get much going offensively, the team's leadoff batter remained the saving grace. He drove in Taylor Motter with a two-out single to center in the third inning and later came around to score in the sixth after a leadoff base knock.

But for the first time all series, the Mariners offense was unable to get anything else going. Minnesota's Jose Berrios silenced their scorching bats with eight innings of near perfection. That is except for Gamel, of course.

"Berrios pitched a really good ballgame," Servais said. "We had some chances to get close, couldn't ever really mount a big rally against them. Have to give them credit, we have been swinging the bats very well."

They certainly have swung the bats well, particular against the Twins. Through the first three games of the series, Seattle scored 27 runs and batted .357 with nine doubles and five home runs.

In June, the Mariners are averaging just shy of double-digit hits per contest. As a result, the club has won 12 of its last 18 -- which Gamel has hit safely in all but one -- and the team is inching closer to the .500 benchmark.

And that has as much to do with Gamel's play as anything, though he may not always play at this stellar clip.

"I don't think anyone can hit .340 for the rest of the year, it's hard to hit .340 in this league," Servais said.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Mariners on Thursday.

Seattle Mariners, Ben Gamel