DETROIT -- It took a little help from the Tigers’ outfield, but Kyle Seager recorded the first three-homer game of his career and the first by any Mariners player in nine years on Tuesday, helping Seattle to an 11-6 win at Comerica Park.
Batting with two outs in the ninth inning, Seager sent a fly ball to the warning track in left-center field. Tigers center fielder Niko Goodrum had the ball in his glove for a moment before he collided with left fielder Brandon Dixon. The ball popped out of Goodrum's glove and over the fence for Seager's third homer of the game and 14th of the season.
Seager hit a solo shot in the fourth, a three-run blast in the sixth and a two-run clout in the ninth, tying his career high with six RBIs.
It was just the 13th time a Mariner has hit three or more homers in a game and the first since third baseman Jose Lopez did it on Sept. 22, 2010, at Toronto.
Seager said as time passes and he tells his kids about his three-homer day, the memories may not include the outfield assist from Goodrum.
“It’s probably going to end up a no-doubter, if we’re being honest with ourselves,” Seager said with a smile. “I still haven’t actually seen it yet. Everybody is telling me it bounced over, and that he almost had it and everything. I was running and didn’t honestly see it.”
He’ll still take it though, right?
“Oh yeah,” Seager said. “Without question. For sure.”
“They all count,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s hard to hit home runs in this league. It was a great night by Kyle.”
The Mariners will take Seager’s midseason revival as well, as the veteran third baseman continued his recent tear with a 3-for-4 night. After missing the first two months with a torn tendon in his right hand and then getting off to a slow start at the plate, the 31-year-old has hit .386 (22-for-57) with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in his past 16 games while hiking his average from .190 to .237.
“It’s definitely nice,” said Seager, who worked hard last offseason to lose weight and increase his flexibility, but then wound up being sidelined before being able to implement those changes this spring. “It certainly validates the winter a lot. I changed a lot of things up physically, then put myself in a bit of a hole trying to tinker with my swing. Kind of going back to what I’ve done with [hitting coach] Tim Laker, it definitely feels good.”
The Mariners welcomed all the help they could get from the Tigers as they won for just the second time in their past 10 games, though Seattle is now 5-0 this season against a Detroit team with the worst record in the Majors at 35-81. The Tigers are 3-29 against American League West foes since Aug. 3, 2018.
Seager’s first two homers came off left-hander Matthew Boyd.
“Kyle’s timing right now at the plate, all his at-bats were really good,” Servais said. “He does have a track record of hitting homers against the lefties. He always has throughout his career. It’s nice to see him getting some payback for all the work he put in this offseason. He’s getting the results he’s looking for, and hopefully it continues.”
A cartwheel kind of night for Murphy
Seager wasn’t the only one doing damage against Boyd as he and catcher Tom Murphy went back-to-back twice, as the two launched solo homers in the fourth inning followed by a three-run shot from Seager and another solo blast from Murphy in the sixth.
Murphy not only increased his career-high home run total to 12 in just 50 games, he unveiled a hidden talent by doing cartwheels in the dugout after each of his blasts.
“Those dugouts are enormous,” Murphy said. “I told [coach Jared] Sandberg before the game that if I hit a homer, I’m going to do a cartwheel in here because it’s big enough to do a cartwheel. He started laughing, and I don’t think he really thought I’d do it. Just as I was rounding third, I realized I had to do it. And I just kind of went for it.”
Murphy said his daughter is in gymnastics, so he’s been practicing with her. Though his first public attempts didn’t draw rave reviews.
“My wife just texted and said my daughter said that was the worst cartwheel she’d ever seen,” Murphy said. “She’s a little bit of an expert, so she’s a stickler. It felt good to me. But my legs have to be perfectly straight, my toes pointed, and I just didn’t accomplish that, I guess.”
Murphy repeated his performance -- and again failed to stick the perfect landing -- on his second homer.
“That’ll probably be the last time I ever do that,” he said with a laugh.
Seager acknowledged it was an unexpected -- but welcome -- development.
“That threw me off, I won’t lie,” Seager said. “That was unexpected. He’s pretty straight-laced, so when he started cutting cartwheels in there, he threw everybody off. I think he lost a bet. When you do a cartwheel when you hit a homer, when you hit another, you kind of have to keep riding that wave.”
Did Seager consider unleashing any gymnastics stunts of his own on his three-homer night?
“I can honestly say that didn’t cross my mind,” he said.