SEATTLE -- It was good to get home on Monday for the Mariners. Just ask Mallex Smith.
The Mariners center fielder stole home in the eighth inning of Monday’s 6-2 win over the Rangers, capping a “stolen base cycle” and a club-record-tying four-steal night as Seattle snapped a six-game losing streak.
After an 0-6 road trip, all the Mariners were plenty happy to be back at T-Mobile Park on a sunny Memorial Day evening, and none more than Smith, who swiped second, third and then home when reliever Kyle Bird threw to first on a pickoff attempt following his one-out walk.
Smith snapped out of his lengthy struggles at the plate with a 2-for-3 night that included the go-ahead RBI single in the fourth. Smith also singled, stole second and scored in the third and is now hitting .176 with 12 stolen bases.
Smith, one of Seattle’s major acquisitions in general manager Jerry Dipoto’s offseason youth movement, was demoted to Triple-A for two weeks at the start of May and was just 4-for-25 since his return. But after two games off to work on some swing changes, the 26-year-old reached base three times and made the most of those opportunities with his first steals since April 23.
“I’ve been doing nothing since I’ve been up here and I know that,” Smith said. “But at the same time, I also know the player that I am. I just knew if I kept a positive attitude, upped my focus and continued to stay aggressive that it would come around. I’m anticipating it’ll continue to develop and I can help the guys get more wins around here.”
Smith’s four stolen bases were a career best, and he became the first Mariner to steal home since Dustin Ackley in 2012. Smith said it was the second time in his career he’s stolen home in about seven attempts.
“It was great to see Mallex get going,” said manager Scott Servais. “I’ve never seen anybody steal three bases in one inning.”
Three other things to like from Monday’s game:
1. A Vogel-bomb into rare territory
Daniel Vogelbach’s 15th home run of the season, a towering two-run shot into the third deck down the right-field line off reliever Jose LeClerc in the seventh, clinched the much-needed win for a club that had lost nine of its last 10 games and gone 10-30 since its 13-2 start to the season.
Vogelbach is believed to be just the third player to reach the upper deck in right field since the stadium opened in 1999, joining Mo Vaughn of the Angels (‘99) and Carlos Delgado of the Blue Jays (‘01).
“For the ball to go over the foul pole like that, that’s some kind of special power,” Servais said. “Pretty cool.”
Vogelbach also hit a ball into the upper deck in batting practice prior to Monday’s game.
“I thought it was going to stay fair. It was just high,” Vogelbach said. “I’m thankful after replay it stayed and it was two runs for us.”
2. Milone makes most of his opportunity
Tommy Milone pitched extremely well in his second outing for the Mariners -- and his second time facing the Rangers -- as he allowed just four hits and two runs over 5 2/3 innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts in 80 pitches.
The 32-year-old evened his record at 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma to replace rookie Erik Swanson in the rotation.
“Every time I can take the ball every fifth or sixth day and go out and compete and be myself, hopefully I can keep it going and keep on a roll,” said Milone, who had some strong seasons for the A’s and Twins from 2012-15 but has bounced between five teams since ‘16.
“Tommy Milone did his job and got us into the sixth inning,” Servais said. “His changeup was really good early on. He got a lot of swings and misses with it. He located the fastball. He’s got a lot of experience. Nothing really gets to him. He just goes out and pitches, and he made pitches tonight.”
3. The anonymous bullpen steps up
The Mariners’ relief crew has been a revolving door, but they’ve come up with some interesting power arms of late that could help alleviate one of the team’s biggest sore spots.
Cory Gearrin replaced Milone in the sixth and struck out Logan Forsythe to end that frame. Then newcomers Jesse Biddle, Austin Adams and Anthony Bass shut out the Rangers on two hits over the final three frames.
“We have a couple new additions, and I really like what we’ve seen so far,” Servais said. “We’ll keep giving them opportunities. They threw the ball really well tonight.”