BALTIMORE -- With his starting rotation dealing with a rash of injuries, Mariners manager Scott Servais has said repeatedly that Seattle's offense must carry the load if the club hopes to contend for an American League Wild Card berth.That certainly rung true again on Monday night when the Orioles outscored
BALTIMORE -- With his starting rotation dealing with a rash of injuries, Mariners manager Scott Servais has said repeatedly that Seattle's offense must carry the load if the club hopes to contend for an American League Wild Card berth.
That certainly rung true again on Monday night when the Orioles outscored Seattle, 7-6, knocking young starter Marco Gonzales out after just 3 1/3 innings, and twice coming from behind to win the series opener in a key matchup between playoff challengers.
But after putting up just six runs in three games at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, there were at least signs of life again from the bats in this one, including the welcome sight of a big day from rookie left fielder Ben Gamel, who cranked out a career-high five RBIs with a three-run homer and two-run single.
"Gamel really swung the bat well tonight," said Servais. "He was out early today and took a lot of swings, talking with [hitting coach] Edgar [Martinez] and Scott Brosius about what's going on. I thought he made some nice adjustments. It was great to see from him."
Gamel is one of several Mariners who've struggled offensively of late. After a torrid early start that drew whispers of AL Rookie of the Year Award contention, Gamel has posted just a .145/.201/.171 line in August with two doubles and no homers.
But his three-run blast off Chris Tillman, a 416-foot drive to center in the fourth, doubled his RBI total for the month, and was his first home run since July 22. And he added to that with his two-run single that tied the game in the sixth.
Gamel acknowledged that the early work in the batting cage seemed to pay dividends.
"I'm really trying to simplify it, give myself time to make my move and get in good position to hit," Gamel said. "I've just felt rushed and am really trying to slow things down. Edgar and Bro were kind of spit-balling in the cage with me today and found something that felt more comfortable. Some things clicked today."
Gamel has seen his batting average tumble from .354 on June 21 down to its current .287. Nobody expected him to hit .350 for the season, but he would like to get back on track and finish his first full season in the Majors strong.
So a day like Monday can certainly help keep the confidence going, though he says staying upbeat hasn't been a problem.
"It's tough to be negative around Edgar," he said. "He's always in such a positive frame of mind that it really rubs off on people."
Servais said the Mariners' attack is at its best when Gamel and others are producing up and down the lineup and not just relying on the big bats in the middle of the order.
"Mike Zunino is continuing to swing the bat well," Servais said. "Getting Gamel going and Mitch Haniger hit the ball hard right at the shortstop tonight. Hopefully we can get him going a little bit. It's got to be everybody chipping in. It can't just be the same guys every night."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.