Zunino provides some needed offensive punch

Catcher drives in three runs during Monday's loss to Tigers

Zunino provides some needed offensive punch

DETROIT -- It's been a rough year at the plate for Mike Zunino, but the Mariners' catcher delivered a career-high-tying three RBIs with a pair of clutch hits and was in line to be the hitting hero Monday before the Tigers pulled out a 5-4 victory with some late-game heroics at Comerica Park.

Zunino snapped a 1-for-21 slump with a two-run, bases-loaded double in the second and added an RBI single in the sixth, both hits pushing Seattle into temporary leads in a game they ultimately lost on Ian Kinsler's two-run blast in the eighth.

Zunino finished 2-for-3 with a walk, raising his average to .163 and raising his hopes that a recent adjustment in his batting stance might help.

"I tried to widen up a little today," said the 24-year-old backstop. "I'd been trying to narrow up because it's a little easier on the legs. So I'm trying now to get the solid base and trust my hands. And I was able to get some pitches to hit today and didn't try to do too much with them."

Zunino has been a workhorse for the Mariners, with the second-most innings caught by any catcher in the Major Leagues. So it's understandable if his legs got worn down over the course of the first half.

Zunino's two-run double

"Usually as the season goes on, your legs get tired and to be wide takes a lot more out of them," he said. "So it was a little bit easier to narrow up a little."

He said the decision to readjust that stance came about as he looked at film and talked things over with hitting coach Edgar Martinez.

"I've been trying just about everything," he said. "I'm trying to see what is comfortable and what works and I went back to what feels most comfortable for me. And hopefully I can use that, plus what Edgar has been saying."

Getting some positive results always helps and Zunino came within a foot or two of a grand slam when he powered his double off Alfredo Simon to dead center field, which is 420 feet away at expansive Comerica Park.

"I hit it well, but it's a long way out there," he said. "I'll take that double any day."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.