SEATTLE -- For a Mariners club that couldn't seem to score a run at times on its last road trip, the hits just keep coming and the results are an impressive stretch that has pulled Seattle back into postseason contention.The Mariners slammed the American League Central-leading Twins, 12-3, on Tuesday
SEATTLE -- For a Mariners club that couldn't seem to score a run at times on its last road trip, the hits just keep coming and the results are an impressive stretch that has pulled Seattle back into postseason contention.
The Mariners slammed the American League Central-leading Twins, 12-3, on Tuesday and have won eight of their past nine since enduring a 1-7 skid late last month that culminated with back-to-back shutouts at Fenway Park.
Seattle scored just nine runs in that eight-game tailspin and dropped into last place in the AL West, causing manager Scott Servais to speculate they'd "hit rock bottom" and needed to start climbing up, some way, somehow.
Not even Servais could have expected the climb to be so swift as the Mariners have outscored their foes 69-25 in the last nine games while batting .353 with 34 extra-base hits and 12 home runs and pulling into a second-place tie with the Angels in the West at 29-30, just 2 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race.
"This is as good as we've played offensively all year," Servais said. "It's kind of how we thought the roster was put together. We've turned the lineup over. The line is moving. The walks, big hit, then somebody pops one and you put big crooked numbers up there, which we're capable of doing."
The offensive onslaught continued Tuesday against a Twins club that had the second-best road record in the Majors at 17-6 coming in and swept Seattle at Safeco Field a year ago with a far-less imposing squad.
Former Twin Danny Valencia continued his scorching June with a three-run double in the fourth, but he was far from alone as Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager each launched three-run homers and Guillermo Heredia reached base three times and scored twice from the leadoff spot in Jean Segura's absence.
"We're swinging the bats well right now, getting a lot of production top to bottom," said Seager. "It goes in waves, like anything else. It's the way seasons go. You go through waves where you're not swinging well, then waves like this. It's certainly much more fun when it's like this."
Cano echoed the same thought, crediting the bottom of the order for setting the stage for the big guns. He said he's happiest of all for the renewed confidence of catcher Mike Zunino, along with the continued production of Ben Gamel, Heredia and now Valencia.
After going 0-for-9 over the weekend despite some hard-hit balls, Cano was pleased to join in the fun with his three-run blast in the first.
"Honestly, it feels really good," he said. "That's how you know things aren't going your way, when you hit the ball past the first baseman and it hits the umpire and they get you out [as happened Sunday]. That's when you say, 'What is going on?'
"But those things never get my confidence down. The good thing about this game, there is always tomorrow. We have a long way to go and this is a game where you get hot, you can stay there a long time."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [