Smith goes 2 for 3 in loss and scores Seattle’s only run. He raised his batting average to a team-best .317.

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That Seth Smith had a flourishing finish to April was fairly typical, based on his career numbers.

His productive start to May was typical, too.

Smith was 2 for 3 with a walk in the Mariners’ 4-1 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, raising his batting average to a team-best .317.

Over his last 13 starts, Smith is batting .348 (16 for 46) with 11 runs, three home runs, eight runs batted in and eight walks. He leads the Mariners in on-base percentage (.440) and slugging percentage (.550).

“It’s been awesome,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Smith’s hot start. “I think his approach from the first day of spring training has been fantastic. He hasn’t tried to do too much. He’s used the whole field. He’s a guy they typically shift against a lot and multiple times he’s beat the shift because he is using the whole field, so just the quality of his at-bats and the consistency of it is great to see.”

A 10-year major-league veteran, the 33-year-old Smith has a career on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .857 in April, historically his best month. He’s been nearly as good in May, posting an .850 OPS. (His career OPS is .799.)

“I think he’s hit that point in his career where he knows who he is; he doesn’t try to do too much and he stays within his game, which is awesome,” Servais said. “It’s been contagious, and I think it’s been led by him in how we’re approaching our at-bats.”

Smith has more walks (13) than strikeouts (11) this season, fitting in perfectly with the new approach Servais and Seattle’s new management have been preaching. The Mariners, of course, use the left-handed-hitting Smith mostly in a platoon with Franklin Gutierrez, and it’s been a successful situation so far.

“It’s important to know who you are and what the expectations of you are,” Smith said. “Certainly, the longer you play (you know) the expectations of yourself and what you do well and what you may not do well.”


Chris Iannetta caught all four of Taijuan Walker’s starts in April, and they teamed up again in a rare Sunday start for Iannetta. That, however, is not necessarily something Servais sees as a permanent pairing. “We try to stay away from that, but obviously Chris has done a good job with Taijuan,” Servais said before the game. “I don’t like to get locked into that — this guy catches this pitcher or whatever. I just thought it was the right way to go today before we head out onto the road trip.”

• Updates on two Mariners relievers on the disabled list: Charlie Furbush “feels great,” according to Servais, as the left-hander works through the early stages of his rehab throwing program. “All the reports I’ve got have been very positive,” Servais said. Setup man Joaquin Benoit, out with shoulder inflammation, was scheduled to play catch Sunday and is feeling “much better as well,” Servais said. “Those guys are both moving in the right direction.”