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Red-hot Mariners bats erupt in win over Tribe

April 29, 2018

CLEVELAND -- One of Mariners manager Scott Servais' primary goals this spring was to get his club off to a strong start. That mission clearly has been accomplished, with Seattle capping an excellent road trip Sunday with a 10-4 victory over the Indians as Ryon Healy homered twice.At 16-11, the

CLEVELAND -- One of Mariners manager Scott Servais' primary goals this spring was to get his club off to a strong start. That mission clearly has been accomplished, with Seattle capping an excellent road trip Sunday with a 10-4 victory over the Indians as Ryon Healy homered twice.
At 16-11, the Mariners have equaled their best 27-game start since 2003 -- having also hit that mark in '16 -- and it's just the sixth time in franchise history the Mariners have finished April with 16 or more wins.
Marco Gonzales threw six innings of two-run ball and Mitch Haniger, Robinson Cano and Healy supplied the offensive punch with a quartet of home runs as the Mariners finished 7-3 on a 10-game trek against the Rangers, White Sox and Indians.

"It was a great day for our No. 9-hole hitter today," Servais said of Healy. "And a heck of a road trip. I'm really excited about where this club is at and where we're headed. We all thought we could do some big things offensively and we're starting to get in a nice groove now."
After coming off the 10-day disabled list Friday, Healy heated up in a hurry over the weekend. The big first baseman went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs to go along with his two homers. He hit his first home run of the year on Saturday and is now up to a .211 batting average after a frigid start prior to spraining his ankle three weeks ago.

"I didn't feel like myself the first seven games of the year," Healy said. "I was battling some things, trying to get comfortable. The DL stint was not wanted or needed, but it was a reset button for me and that's what I'm using it for. So far, so good, but it's a very small sample size and a lot more to go."
Gonzales improved to 3-2 with a 5.02 ERA in six starts as he gave up six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. The 26-year-old allowed just two runs over 12 innings in back-to-back wins on the road trip.
Gonzales acknowledged his life gets easier when his team is putting up double-digit runs, as they did in back-to-back games against a club that came into the weekend with the second-lowest ERA in the league.

"They don't give them a break, up and down the lineup," Gonzales said. "That's really the story of our team so far, the ability to swing it one through nine. It's so great to see Healy start to get hot now and get his timing down. I'm so happy for him and all these guys because they're really barreling it up right now."
Cano capped a five-run rally in the second off Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin with a two-run homer, the 100th of his Mariners career.

Seattle's offense continued to excel as the Mariners averaged 6 runs per game on the road trip. Center fielder Dee Gordon went 4-for-5 with four singles, lifting his average to .309. Cano was 2-for-5 with a double and homer and is batting a team-leading .313, while Haniger capped a huge month by going 3-for-5 with a homer and triple to put him among the American League leaders with 10 homers and 27 RBIs.
"It's been good. We've been swinging the bats really well," Haniger said. "We'll carry that over to May and keep wreaking havoc hopefully."

With the victory, the Mariners won their season series against the Indians, 5-2, with 15 home runs and 44 runs scored in the seven games against the American League Central leaders.
Avoiding early trouble: It was early in the game, but Kyle Seager's double play on a bunt attempt by Bradley Zimmer in the first inning helped Gonzales get settled in despite what could have been a rocky start. After a leadoff walk to Francisco Lindor, Zimmer tried to drop a bunt down the third-base line. Instead, the ball popped in the air to a charging Seager, who fired on the run to first to double off Lindor. The Indians followed with singles by Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley, but Gonzales got out of the frame unscathed by getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground out.

"I've had a couple first innings where we've kind of gotten out of some jams and been able to reassess after that and be aggressive," Gonzales said. "That was a huge play by him. That was great."
Answering the challenge: After the Indians cut the lead to 6-4 in the seventh, the Mariners wasted no time responding as Haniger tripled, Ben Gamel drove him in with a single through the right side of the infield and Healy put the capper on things with his two-run homer to left on a prodigious bolt projected at 427 feet by Statcast™.

"That's what really good teams do," Healy said. "Our pitching staff has done an amazing job this year, but they're going to give up some runs. Just like we're not going to score a ton of runs all the time. But when we can support each other like that, all it does is build team unity and that's something that is really big moving forward for us."
How clutch has Jean Segura been for the Mariners over the first month? Seattle's shortstop contributed a two-out, run-scoring single to the second-inning rally and is batting .500 (15-for-30) with runners in scoring position and .405 (15-for-37) with two outs over his first 27 games.

"Hitting is contagious. That's always been a thing. When you watch the top of the lineup, the professional at-bats they put out there, all it does is set the example for the younger guys in the bottom of the order coming up, how to really work an at-bat, swing at good pitches and see good things happen." -- Healy 

Gamel's leaping attempt at a bases-loaded line drive to left in the seventh by Ramirez initially was ruled an inning-ending catch, but a review clearly showed the ball coming out of Gamel's mitt as he landed on the warning track. The call was reversed and Ramirez was given a two-run double off reliever James Pazos, cutting Seattle's lead to 6-4. But Pazos snared a comebacker by Brantley to get the third out and keep the two-run lead intact before Healy settled things with his second homer in the eighth.

"He almost made an unbelievable play there," Servais said of Gamel. "The ball just scooted out of his glove. Weird play with the umpire calling him out. Of course, he didn't see it. But thankfully for us, Pazos regrouped and got the big out against Brantley to get us off the field and put our offense back to work." More >
After an off-day on Monday, the Mariners open a six-game homestand Tuesday, with Felix Hernandez (3-2, 4.96 ERA) facing A's right-hander Andrew Triggs (2-0, 4.70 ERA) in a 7:10 p.m. PT start at Safeco Field. Hernandez is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA over his last four starts, the lone loss being a 2-1 decision to Oakland. But he's beaten the Athletics more than any other team in his career (25-10, 2.61 ERA in 47 starts).

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