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Motter slamming his way into lineup

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

OAKLAND -- Taylor Motter has drawn considerable attention for his long, flowing hair, but the Mariners utility man is making a name for himself with his bat as the 27-year-old ripped his fifth home run in the past 11 games in an 11-1 win Sunday over the A's.

And this one really mottered, err, mattered, with a third-inning grand slam that provided the struggling Mariners with a much-needed timely hit as they snapped a three-game losing streak, and what they hope can turn around a 2-9 road start.

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OAKLAND -- Taylor Motter has drawn considerable attention for his long, flowing hair, but the Mariners utility man is making a name for himself with his bat as the 27-year-old ripped his fifth home run in the past 11 games in an 11-1 win Sunday over the A's.

And this one really mottered, err, mattered, with a third-inning grand slam that provided the struggling Mariners with a much-needed timely hit as they snapped a three-game losing streak, and what they hope can turn around a 2-9 road start.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's been huge for us in the clutch," said designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who had a homer and five RBIs. "When we've needed it, he's been there. We're just happy with the way he's played. He's getting hot."

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Motter's blast off A's right-hander Andrew Triggs gave Seattle a 6-0 lead, and was the first slam of his career. Statcast™ projected the distance at an estimated 401 feet as Motter turned around a 90-mph fastball on a 1-0 count.

"I'm going to be honest," Motter said. "I don't even know what pitch I hit. I just put a good swing on it, and hoped I got it."

The versatile Motter has been filling in at shortstop since Jean Segura went on the 10-day disabled list April 10 with a strained right hamstring, and Motter has provided a steady glove as well as a hot bat.

He added a double in the ninth and finished with a 2-for-5 game that puts his line at .255/.321/.667 in 16 games, with 11 of his 13 hits going for extra bases-- six doubles and five homers -- along with 12 RBIs.

"Taylor hasn't missed many fastballs," manager Scott Servais said. "When the ball is down, middle in, he doesn't miss it. He's a very aggressive player. Obviously, he's up there hunting the fastball, and he got it and put a great swing on it. I just thought it was a very professional approach by all our guys today. We needed some big hits, and we got 'em."

Motter was acquired in November in a trade from the Rays, where he hit .188 with two homers in 80 at-bats last year as a rookie, so this is a big breakout for him.

"Getting a chance to play is great, and watching this team win is even better," he said. "When we're losing and I'm playing every day, it's not fun. It's not a good feeling. But right now, good win, 11-1 on the road, and now we're headed to Detroit with an off-day tomorrow? I'm one of the happiest people in the world right now."

Segura is expected back Tuesday when the Mariners open a three-game series at Detroit, but Servais has made it clear he'll try to find a spot in the lineup for Motter as long as he keeps hitting, and that could mean time at first base, left field or any of the other infield spots when anyone needs time off.

"We'll find a place for him," Servais said.

And Motter isn't fretting about that either.

"I've done my job, whatever I could while Jean was gone to help this team win," Motter said. "Whatever they do with the lineup, I have no control over. I'll do what they want, and let's go win some ballgames, that's all I care about."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Taylor Motter