The Mariners pounded out 17 hits and beat Oakland by 10 runs at Safeco Field.
Even with all of the Mariners’ early success this season — a winning record, the best road record in all of baseball and first place in the American League West — there are still a few common complaints/questions from fans. “Why does the team struggle to win at Safeco Field?” and “How long can they wait for Adam Lind to start hitting?” are two favorites.
Manager Scott Servais has answered various forms of both questions numerous times, always remaining steadfast in the belief that both would change with time.
Wednesday night offered prizes for his patience.
Minnesota @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
Lind had his best game in a Mariners’ uniform, going 4 for 4 with a solo homer and a three-run homer in his first two at-bats, followed by an RBI single and a run-scoring double for a total of six RBI, leading a run-scoring binge for the Mariners in a 13-3 rout of the Athletics.
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It gave Seattle a series win over the A’s and improved its home record to 10-11.
While their home struggles have been well documented, particularly against American League West foes, of the Mariners’ past five series at Safeco, they’ve won four of them. The only series loss in that span was the sweep by the Angels.
At 28-18, the Mariners have the second-best record in the American League behind the Red Sox (29-17). Since the five-game home losing streak, Seattle is 26-12.
Lind led an offensive attack that rolled up a season high in runs (13), hits (17) and tied for a season high in homers (4).
He is one of four Mariners to have at least four hits with a double, two homers and six RBI in a game — the others being Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner and Bret Boone.
“He’s capable of that,” Servais said. “He’s capable of carrying a club for a few weeks.”
After struggling to find some consistency, Lind is just happy to contribute.
“It’s great to win, but it’s also nice to participate too,” Lind said. “There’s been incremental improvement the last two to three weeks. Tonight, it all worked out.”
Lind came into the game hitting .216 with a .565 OPS. After his big night, he has a .242 batting average and a .670 OPS.
“He’s hit some balls hard that have not fallen in and have gotten caught,” Servais said. “The last eight to 10 games, he’s not chasing as much and he’s seeing the ball better and getting better pitches to hit. Usually it leads to good results.”
But even after a blowout victory and a series win, there was some uneasiness to the celebration. Seeing Leonys Martin — one of their hottest hitters and among the best defensive center fielders in baseball — grabbing at the back of his leg in pain after stealing second base in the Mariners’ six-run third inning that blew the game open provided pause.
After his RBI single off A’s starter Zach Neal that plated Luis Sardinas and started the scoring, Martin easily stole second base. But as he got up from the slide, he grabbed at the back of his left leg.
When he later reached third base on Seth Smith’s RBI single to center, he notified third-base coach Manny Acta of the issue. Acta immediately motioned for the trainers.
“He just said it was a little cramp or whatever,” Servais said. “And he wanted to stay in the game.”
But Robinson Cano’s hard ground-ball out to first caught Martin in a rundown. After a few steps and moving gingerly, Martin gave in for the out. While Kyle Seager was slicing an RBI single to left and Lind was crushing his missile of a three-run homer to right field, Martin was being checked by the team’s medical staff.
The Mariners called it a “tweaked” left hamstring.
“He’s going to get it checked out tomorrow morning,” Servais said. “I don’t think it’s anything too serious, but you want to be cautious. It’s still early in the year.”
Martin had the hamstring wrapped in ice postgame.
“It was a little cramp when I came up on the base,” he said.