Smith, who said he got back to basic hitting mechanics, homered for the fourth straight game, drilling a grand slam to right-center on Sunday.
The day-to-day grind of a major-league baseball season can catch up to even the most veteran of players.
So it was that Seth Smith, a 33-year-old who debuted in 2007, felt a need to step back and re-evaluate a few things after finding himself mired in a slump earlier this month.
What he found was a couple of little bad habits that had crept into his hitting that he felt had him not ready to swing as quickly as needed at hittable pitches.
“Just make sure you are getting started early enough,’’ Smith said of some minor alterations he made to his approach. “Some basic hitting things that sometimes you need to get back to.’’
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Since a 6-for-35 drought dropped his average to .251 on June 15 Smith has been on a tear, capped by hitting one home run in each game of a four-game sweep of Baltimore that concluded with a 9-4 win on Sunday. Smith had the key blow, a grand slam in the third that put the Mariners ahead for good.
“Seth Smith is on some kind of a tear,’’ said manager Scott Servais.
Smith is 17 of 44 in his last 13 games, including the four home runs against the Orioles. He became only the 11th different Mariner to homer in four straight games and the ninth to have four or more runs batted in in consecutive games.
The low-key Smith said his approach can mostly be defined this way: “Just trying to put good swings (on pitches) that are over the plate and trying to take the other ones,’’ he said.
With the bases loaded, he fell behind Ubaldo Jimenez 0-2. Jimenez tried to sneak a fastball by Smith, who instead pounded it out to right-center.
“He’s trying to go down, away and center-center to Seth Smith and he’s hot and those guys aren’t going to miss those pitches,’’ said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter.
• The schedule for pitcher Felix Hernandez, on the disabled list since June 1 with a right calf strain, became clearer after he turned in what Servais said was a good bullpen session Sunday.
“It went well and he’s right on track,’’ Servais said.
Servais said Hernandez will throw a simulated game at Houston, likely on Wednesday. If that goes well, then he would pitch at Everett a week from Sunday in a minor-league rehab start. And if that goes well he would then pitch at Tacoma just after the All-Star break.
“And then we’ll see where he goes from there,’’ Servais said.
The hope is that at that point he would be ready to return to the Seattle rotation in the homestand following the All-Star break.