CLEVELAND -- After recording the first two outs of Saturday's game, it only took Indians' right-hander Danny Salazar three pitches to see just how dangerous the Mariners' heart of the lineup can be on any given day.Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager -- the three combined for 112 home
CLEVELAND -- After recording the first two outs of Saturday's game, it only took Indians' right-hander Danny Salazar three pitches to see just how dangerous the Mariners' heart of the lineup can be on any given day.
Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager -- the three combined for 112 home runs and 307 RBIs in 2016 -- provided all of the Mariners' offense in the first inning on Saturday. Cano started it all with a two-out, opposite-field double, which set the stage for Cruz and Seager. The four and five hitters in Seattle's lineup hit back-to-back home runs to center, both of which came on the first pitch of their respective at-bats.
"[Cano], Cruzy and Seager, all three of those guys are really really important [to our lineup]," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Hopefully, we do enough around them and get guys on base. They're not going to do it every day, but that's the core of our club and they know it. I think the consistency is starting to come with all three of those guys."
Although the double was Cano's only hit on the day, the second baseman has hit the ball well over the last week after getting off to a slow start to the season. He added a single in Sunday's 12-4 loss to the Indians.
"He'll have a couple good at-bats and smoke a couple balls hard and then he'll have a couple of at-bats where he's looking out of sorts," Servais said of Cano. "He's working on a few things with his swing and just trying to find a consistency. Veteran player. Really smart player. Knows what he's looking for when he goes up there and he's gotten a few pitches to drive on this road trip and he hasn't missed them.
"He is a proven hitter," Servais said. "One of the best hitters in the league, and obviously, he is a big part of our lineup."
When Cruz followed Cano's double with a first-pitch shot to center, he not only dispelled any concern about his sore left hamstring, which kept him out of the lineup on Friday, but he extended his hitting streak to nine games. He added a solo shot to left in his first at-bat against the Indians on Sunday. Over the previous 10 games, he has gone 16-for-34 with five home runs, four doubles and 15 RBIs.
According to Statcast™, the designated hitter's 419-foot homer had an exit velocity of 111 mph and Seager's subsequent 398-foot home run had an exit velocity of 101 mph.
"Nelly obviously hit that ball really well, so he kind of got it going," Seager said. "You know, I was just trying to be a little more aggressive on the first pitch. I'm not necessarily trying to hit a home run, I'm glad it went out, I'm just trying to put a good swing on the ball."
In the seventh inning of Saturday's game, rookie outfielder Boog Powell made his Major League debut as he was called upon to pinch-hit. But after Indians manager Terry Francona switched to left-hander Andrew Miller, Servais brought on Carlos Ruiz to pinch-hit before Powell stepped into the batter's box.
"I think he was okay with it. I think he saw who was coming into pitch," Servais said. "That's a tough assignment for any left-handed hitter, certainly in your first AB."
Powell made his first Major League start on Sunday, batting ninth and going 0-for-3.
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland who covered the Mariners on Sunday.