Encarnacion became the first Major Leaguer to go deep twice in the same frame since Mark Trumbo with the Orioles on April 15, 2016. Encarnacion previously homered twice in an inning himself on July 26, 2013, for the Blue Jays.
The last Mariners to do the deed were Mike Cameron and Bret Boone, who homered back to back twice in the first inning of Cameron’s four-homer game against the White Sox on May 2, 2002.
Encarnacion is the fifth player to homer twice in an inning two different times in his career, joining Alex Rodriguez, Jeff King, Andre Dawson and Willie McCovey.
“When you feel the way I’m feeling right now, you enjoy it and have fun,” said Encarnacion, who celebrates every homer with his “parrot” wing extended as he rounds the bases. “It’s only the beginning, but we’re enjoying the moment and will try to continue doing what we’re doing."
The Mariners came into Monday’s series opener with the Royals leading the Majors in home runs, with 27. The Royals, meanwhile, were tied for the fewest home runs allowed, with just five.
Something had to give and that something, it turned out, was Kansas City’s pitching staff as Seattle slugged five more long balls en route to its lopsided victory at Kauffman Stadium. The power show propelled the Mariners’ record to 10-2, best in franchise history and tops in MLB out of the gate this year.
Seattle starter Felix Hernandez exited due to illness after allowing two runs in the first, but the Mariners’ rebuilt offense has been healthy from Day 1 this season, and that continued with solo home runs by Daniel Vogelbach, Dylan Moore and Jay Bruce as well as Encarnacion’s solo and three-run blasts in the sixth.
That hikes Seattle’s season total to an MLB-record 32 homers in 12 games, the latest five coming off a Kansas City club that allowed just five in its first eight games. The previous 12-game high was 31 by the 2000 Cardinals.
“I’ve never seen something like this,” said Encarnacion, who now has 384 homers in his 15-year career. “It’s unbelievable. Anybody can hit homers here. I feel great about this team, where we are right now.”
Seattle has opened the season by homering in a club-record 12 consecutive games, becoming just the fourth American League team to achieve that since 1908. The Indians homered in the first 14 games of 2002, the Tigers went deep in 13 straight games to open 2017 and the Rays reached 12 straight in 2007.
“It’s pretty awesome to watch,” manager Scott Servais said. “What an offensive roll we are on right now. Guys don’t let up.”
The MLB record for consecutive games with a home run at any point in the season is 27 by the Rangers in 2002, while the Mariners' team record is 23 straight games midway through 2013.
Vogelbach has hit five homers in his past four games, going 8-for-13 with nine RBIs in that span as the burly designated hitter has taken advantage of increased playing time after starting just once in the first eight games. He also walked three times on Monday and was standing in the on-deck circle for Encarnacion’s two blasts.
“When he hits it, it just sounds different,” Vogelbach said. “The first couple games he was just missing balls and everybody knew it was coming. He’s done it for a long time and he does it every single year. I think I’ve seen most of them against us. It’s a lot better to see them when he’s with us.”
Vogelbach’s 378-foot line drive to right led off the second against Royals starter Homer Bailey. Moore, making his first start at shortstop with Tim Beckham sidelined by a tight right hamstring, then launched his first career homer with a 432-foot blast to left center with two out in the second to tie the game after Hernandez’s early exit.
Encarnacion later broke a 4-4 tie with his second homer in the past two games and third of the season and he capped the eight-run sixth with his three-run blast off reliever Kevin McCarthy as the veteran first baseman continues heating up after a slow spring.
“He’s got his timing back,” Servais said. “He has a proven track record in this league, doing it over and over against really good pitching. He’s having fun. We acquired a lot of veteran guys this offseason that didn’t really know what they were walking into. I think they’re enjoying playing and coming to the ballpark. And we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Bruce finished off the night with his sixth homer of the year in the eighth, giving him three in the past two games as well. The three-time All-Star totaled nine homers in 94 games in an injury-plagued 2018 for the Mets.
The Mariners weren’t limited to long balls, however, as left fielder Domingo Santana went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs and now has 19 RBIs on the year, just one shy of his total in 85 games with the Brewers last season.