Martin, wearing Felix Hernandez’s custom-made shoes, gives Mariners a cushion against the Los Angeles Angels with his third homer of the season.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Leonys Martin was tired of the hard-hit balls going right at opposing defenders. So on Sunday, he hit one where only the opposing fans could catch it.
With the Mariners up 4-3 in the top of the fourth, Martin hit a laser of a two-run homer over the wall in right field off Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.
Martin’s third homer of the season gave Seattle much-needed insurance runs and helped solidify a 9-4 win on Sunday and a series win over the Angels.
Maybe it was the shoes? Martin wore a pair of Felix Hernandez’s custom made spikes in the game.
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“I hit a homer in King Felix’s shoes today,” he said smiling, and then tucked them into his bag.
The homer is more of a product of Martin’s bat speed and surprising strength. Martin has always had contact issues and strikeout problems, but when he hits the ball, it’s usually coming off the bat at a good rate of speed.
“He’s got some lightning in the bat, there’s no doubt,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s got some pull power. A little more consistent with the contact is what we’re shooting for. But he and Edgar (Martinez) continue to work. The one thing about Leonys, he will stay aggressive. He will let it fly.”
Martin was happy with the homer, though he knows he’s not a power hitter.
“I’m just trying to find a good pitch and hit the ball hard,” he said. “That’s all I can do. I’m not trying to hit homers. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard every time.”
Still, Martin has struck out 24 times in 60 at-bats. And he’s working on the contact part while still hitting the ball hard.
“That’s what I can control,” he said. “This game is really hard. There are tough pitchers. But I just try to keep fighting. There’s a long way to go and someday it’s going to click.”
• In three career starts vs. the Angels, Wade Miley is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 11 strikeouts.
• Albert Pujols’ first-inning homer off Miley snapped an 0-for-26 hitless drought — the longest of his career. His 563rd homer tied him with Reggie Jackson (13th).