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Mariners extend HR streak in W over Sox

April 6, 2019

CHICAGO -- Although the Mariners are hitting home runs at an historic rate, Jay Bruce doesn’t believe the players are simply swinging for the fences. “We’re putting together great at-bats right now,” he said. “Everybody’s pulling on the same end of the rope. We talk a lot about the approach

CHICAGO -- Although the Mariners are hitting home runs at an historic rate, Jay Bruce doesn’t believe the players are simply swinging for the fences.

“We’re putting together great at-bats right now,” he said. “Everybody’s pulling on the same end of the rope. We talk a lot about the approach and a lot about the pitcher and what we’re trying to do.

“You don’t want to be the one to take the bad at-bat. It’s been great. I’ve been really happy how everyone is going about their business, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Bruce had two home runs, Tim Beckham added a three-run blast, and the Mariners pounded out 14 hits to continue their early-season offensive barrage in a victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Mariners extended their franchise record for consecutive games with a homer to begin a season to 10 and have hit a total of 24 round-trippers. They improve to an American League-best 8-2, which is the best 10-game start in franchise history.

“It’s a team approach,” manager Scott Servais said. “All the guys are buying in to what we’re talking about doing, what’s important to us, what our identity is, and that’s controlling the strike zone. We’re doing a really good job of it. We do have enough power on this team that when we get our pitch to hit, we have a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Saturday marked the 26th multi-homer game in Bruce’s career and he takes over the team lead with five homers. Beckham and Domingo Santana each have four.

A day after committing three errors in one inning, Beckham had a big bounce-back game, going 4-for-5 with the three RBIs. He was a triple short of the cycle.

“It’s been fun,” Beckham said. “We want to worry about one game at a time. We have another game tomorrow, so we never want to underestimate anyone and continue to play good baseball.”

The offensive surge was more than enough support for Mike Leake (2-0). The right-hander allowed two runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 82 strikes in 106 pitches.

“It was a nice offensive game, but really the key to the ballgame was Mike Leake pounding the strike zone,” Servais said. “We played errorless baseball. Isn’t it great when that happens?”

The Mariners grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a two-out double by Mitch Haniger -- extending his hitting streak to nine games -- to score Mallex Smith from first base. Bruce then made it 2-0 with a solo blast leading off the fourth. Later in the fourth, Ryon Healy stroked a two-run double to stretch the lead to 4-0.

After Jose Abreu’s solo homer leading off the bottom of the fourth made it 4-1, Beckham broke the game open with a three-run homer in the fifth off reliever Jose Ruiz.

Santana made it 8-1 in the sixth with a run-scoring single for his AL-leading 14th RBI. Chicago’s Tim Anderson homered in the seventh to make it 8-2. Bruce hit another solo shot in the ninth to make it 9-2.

Bruce is batting .184 on the season and five of his seven hits have been homers.

“I don’t plan on hitting .180 all year, or whatever I’m hitting, but I feel good,” he said. “My swing’s good, my work’s good and my body’s healthy. I’m just going to continue to work and get better on both sides of the ball.”

Worth noting

• Rookie Dylan Moore singled in the fourth inning for his first Major League hit. Moore had been 0-for-9 this season before hitting a liner into center field. “Baseball’s not easy, but it definitely helps to get that first one out of the way,” he said.

• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion went 1-for-4 with a walk in his return after missing two games with a sore left hand.