SEATTLE (AP) — When the Seattle Mariners offseason makeover was complete, the expectation was they would be less reliant on hitting home runs.
Tell that to the rest of the league.
After Tuesday’s 16-4 pummeling of San Diego that featured five homers — two by Seth Smith — no team in baseball has hit more home runs than the Mariners’ 77.
Seattle scored 13 of its 16 runs with two outs, including three of the five home runs.
“Just get on base and see what the next guy can do and go from there. It’s nice to see,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Our guys are just having a good at-bat. You’re not always going to get hits. It’s not always going to work out that way but today a number of times it certainly did.”
The Mariners are at 30 wins entering the month of June for the first time since 2003, and rebounded from an unexpected weekend sweep by Minnesota.
Smith led the onslaught, hitting a three-run home run in the third inning that knocked San Diego starter James Shields from the game and adding a solo shot in the fifth. It was his seventh career multi-homer game and first since he was playing for the Padres in 2014.
But he wasn’t alone. Kyle Seager had a three-run homer in the second, Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run home run in the fourth and Adam Lind added a three-run shot in the fifth off reliever Luis Perdomo.
By the time five innings were completed, the Mariners had 16 runs and 14 hits.
“We’ve got guys throughout the lineup that can do it and some guys that have been doing it all season,” Smith said. “It’s unique when it comes together and everybody is doing it on the same day, but nothing anyone did today was surprising.”
Shields (2-7) has been the subject of trade rumors, but Tuesday’s performance won’t impress any suitors. Shields tied a career-high with 10 runs allowed and could not close out innings. The most damaging was the second inning where Luis Sardinas’ single with two outs quickly became a six-run inning. Robinson Cano walked with the bases loaded to force in one run and Nelson Cruz followed with a two-run single that included a lengthy review whether Smith was out at home plate.
Smith was called safe and while it appeared he did not touch the plate with his hand, but catcher Christian Bethancourt did not appear to tag Smith with the ball. After nearly 3 minutes, Smith was ruled safe and Seager followed with his three-run homer.
“You can say that did change the game,” Bethancourt said.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma (4-4) didn’t allow a base runner until Yangervis Solarte led off the fifth with a single. Iwakuma completed seven innings, but gave up homers to Travis Jankowski, Matt Kemp and Hector Sanchez in his final two innings.
In his past two starts, the Mariners have scored 28 runs while Iwakuma was in the game.
“I was able to command most of my pitches for the most part to both sides,” Iwakuma said through an interpreter. “That’s part of my pitching to be aggressive early in the count, get ahead and finish hitters.”
Not to be outdone by Seattle’s power surge was an impressive pitching debut from Bethancourt, who started the day at catcher, moved to the outfield and pitched to five batters in the eighth inning. Bethancourt hit 96 mph on the stadium radar gun but also threw a 53 mph changeup. He recorded two outs, but also loaded the bases. Alexi Amarista got the final out of the eighth on one pitch, getting Shawn O’Malley to ground out.
Padres: RHP Tyson Ross is hoping to start throwing within the next week. Ross made one start before landing on the DL with right shoulder inflammation.
Mariners: SS Ketel Marte (thumb) will be eased into his rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. Marte was scheduled to be the DH on Tuesday night and will transition to playing in the field in a couple of days.
Padres: LHP Christian Friedrich (1-1) will make his fourth start since being called up from Triple-A El Paso. He earned his first win in his last start against Arizona.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (4-4) tries to bounce back from a poor outing where he gave up six runs in a loss to Minnesota.
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