After uneven stretch, Mariners' bats start clicking
Seattle clubs four homers to rout A's and even series in Oakland
OAKLAND -- A Mariners team that has had trouble stringing together hits much of the season found a solution on Friday night, clubbing four two-run home runs in a 9-5 victory over the A's.
The Mariners had hit 57 of their first 81 homers this year with nobody on base, but they chose not to fly solo this time as Logan Morrison, Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller all delivered with a man on base.
"It was fun," said Smith, who delivered the go-ahead blow in the sixth against his former A's team and then watched as Seattle tacked on five more runs in the eighth. "It takes the pressure off. We get three, four, five runs ahead, you don't take at-bats off, but it takes some of the load off your shoulders and you can enjoy the rest of the game."
The nine runs represented Seattle's biggest outburst since June 10 in a 9-3 win in Cleveland and it was welcome help for J.A. Happ. The lefty hadn't won in his previous nine starts and the Mariners had totaled just six runs in his last five outings.
"He's deserved better a lot of times," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "He's actually pitched pretty good. It was real nice to see him get a win tonight."
Which is something that happens, of course, when pitchers get run support. And a Mariners squad that managed just two hits in Thursday's 4-0 shutout flipped the switch against Jesse Chavez and reliever Evan Scribner.
"That was pretty good," said Miller, who ended the scoring with his eighth bomb of the season moments after Cruz hit his 21st in the eighth inning. "We all have confidence in ourselves and each other. Everybody is working and making adjustments. When we click and get going like that, it can be pretty fun. We have to make a little run here."
Morrison's blow might have been the biggest, given it answered Oakland's three-run second when Happ gave up a couple infield singles and a blooper down the right-field line. Morrison got Seattle right back in it by crushing a first-pitch changeup in the third after Mike Zunino had singled.
Again, having runners on base on a day Seattle totaled 13 hits made all the difference.
"No doubt," said Morrison. "I felt it was a big spot to come up and put some runs on the board, just the way they got those runs and the way we lost last night, we just needed to get some runs on the board and break through. Then those other guys did their job. Seth, all he does is rake. And Brad's been swinging well lately. It's all good to see, but we still need to find a way to get better."
Morrison wasn't celebrating after going 1-for-5 and popping out to shallow left with a runner on third and one out in the seventh.
"It was good to get the homer, but you can't leave a guy out there on third base with less than two outs," he said. "We have to find ways to be more consistent and do the little things right. Homers, they don't always come around, so you have to find ways to manufacture 'em. We did hit the ball well today. It's good to see Robbie swinging. But overall, I think some of the things that have been there were still there tonight. We just have to find a way."