Mariners topple Padres behind six homers
SEATTLE -- Catcher Mike Zunino launched two of Seattle's team-record-tying six home runs on Tuesday at Safeco Field and James Paxton picked up his first victory of the season as the Mariners topped the Padres, 11-4, for their fourth straight win.
Nelson Cruz capped Seattle's home run barrage with his Major League-leading 15th homer in the eighth inning. Zunino went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Kyle Seager had a three-run homer and Logan Morrison and Justin Ruggiano added solo shots as the Mariners equaled the club record for a game at Safeco Field.
"Talent will play in this league, because you play 162 games," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, whose offense came into the game ranked 14th in the American League in scoring. "And we have talent on this club. We have guys with track records and I believe what the numbers say in the book are going to come to fruition, and I think you're going to start to see that."
Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy surrendered four runs in the first and finished with five runs and eight hits over 4 2/3 frames as his record evened at 2-2 with a 5.92 ERA. San Diego dropped to 3-5 on its current road trip and 17-17 overall.
Paxton (1-2, 4.31 ERA) allowed just three hits over six scoreless innings, but walked five and had to escape two bases-loaded jams before turning the game over to his bullpen. Despite three runs charged to reliever Danny Farquhar in the seventh, Seattle improved to 4-0 on its 10-game homestand and 15-17 overall.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seager puts a bow on four-run first: The Mariners teed off early on Kennedy, who gave up four hits and two walks to the first six batters he faced. Seager provided the big blow when he jumped on a 1-0 fastball with a three-run shot to right field -- his fourth long ball of the season -- after Robinson Cano's RBI single got Seattle on the board. The damage would have been worse for Kennedy, but Seth Smith was thrown out by right fielder Matt Kemp trying to stretch a leadoff single.
"I felt like I was falling behind a lot of guys," Kennedy said. "Early on, I threw a lot of pitches. I felt that Cano hit a pretty good pitch. But he's one of the best hitters in the game. I fell behind Seagar. … I fell behind a lot of guys."
Had a shot: Despite being in an early hole, the Padres loaded the bases in the second and fourth innings against Paxton. But each time, Paxton wiggled free of trouble -- against the same hitter. He got Clint Barmes on an infield pop-up to end the second inning and then struck him out to finish the fourth.
It was a homer party: The Mariners needed someone to step up and help Cruz carry the offensive load and that someone has been Morrison in the month of May. LoMo torched his fifth home run in the past 10 games with a solo shot in the third off Kennedy and has now has six homers on the year. Zunino followed with his first blast leading off the sixth against Shawn Kelley and his fourth homer of the year was a prodigious poke measured at 444 feet to center field by Statcast™. Zunino added a two-run shot in the seventh and Ruggiano followed with his first of the season in the same frame off reliever Frank Garces. Cruz finally joined the fun in the eighth inning with a blast measured at 422 feet to left-center field. More >
Bases (half) full: The Padres were 0-for-4 with the bases loaded early on Tuesday, but finally broke through when Yangervis Solarte dumped a soft single into center field to score two runs. That hit was just the fourth this season for the Padres (in 24 at-bats) with the bases loaded.
"It was just one of those nights, I guess. I didn't hit mine that well, but good enough to get it over the fence. I'll take it. And Seager hasn't hit one in a while, so it was good to see him bust out. Zunino? He's strong like bull. If he barrels it, it's going to go." -- Morrison, on the home-run barrage.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• When the Mariners jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first, it was their most first-inning runs since scoring four -- also against the Padres -- on May 27, 2013, with Clayton Richard on the mound.
• Seattle evened its record at 8-8 in games when scoring four or more runs. Last year, the Mariners went 67-12 in that situation.
TOO MANY LONG BALLS
A year ago, Padres' starting pitchers allowed 84 home runs. After Kennedy allowed two Tuesday to the Mariners, that number for the starting staff currently stands at 34 after 34 games. As a whole, the Padres pitching staff has allowed 50 home runs this season, the most in the big leagues.
"I think, overall, we've been in too many bad counts and too many fastballs and breaking balls left out over the plate. Right now, overall, the first month and a half here, [it's been ] too many pitches not executed. We've got to do a better job of making pitches," said Padres manager Bud Black. More >
Padres: James Shields (4-0, 4.25 ERA) will look to remain unbeaten Wednesday when he faces the Mariners in the series finale. Shields has struggled keeping the ball in the ballpark lately, as he's allowed seven home runs in his last two starts.
Mariners: Young right-hander Taijuan Walker (1-3, 8.13 ERA) makes his seventh start of the season and the first of his career against the Padres in the 7:10 p.m. PT series finale. Walker allowed three runs on five hits over five innings in a no-decision in his previous outing against the A's.
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