Middle-of-the-order might: Cano, Cruz, Seager bust out
Mariners' 3-4-5 hitters combine to drive in all 10 runs in rout of O's
By Jake Kring-Schreifels
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE -- After getting swept by the Angels at home this past weekend, the Mariners hoped an off-day on Monday would break them out of their small funk. At least for the middle of their lineup on Tuesday night, some rest and a visit to Camden Yards proved to be just the trick in the Mariners' 10-0 rout of the O's.
"We needed a game like that, it was fun," manager Scott Servais said. "Guys swung the bats really, really well."
They began the proceedings in the first inning, when Cano moved Seth Smith to third with a double and promptly scored on Cruz's two-run single.
They picked up where they left off in the fifth. With Norichika Aoki and Smith on base again to put Jimenez in the stretch, Cano hit a run-scoring single to right field and Cruz followed with a run-scoring double to left. That set the stage for Seager, who launched an 0-2 fastball from Brian Matusz, fresh out of the bullpen, to the first row of seats in right field, providing the M's with a seven-run cushion on his third homer of the month.
"I got behind 0-2, I got a guy on third there so the whole goal is to not chase another slider, get them in the zone and just try to get the ball out in the outfield," Seager said. "Fortunately it got out for me."
Cano continued the party in the sixth, doubling home Smith with a gapper to left-center, and was quickly afforded the luxury of a trot home once Cruz notched a two-run homer to left, his eighth of the year, giving him a season-high five RBIs.
Cruz, who played for Baltimore in 2014, has reached base safely in 43 of 46 career games against the Orioles. Cano also enjoys hitting in Baltimore, increasing his average in at Camden Yards to .367 with his three-hit night.
"[I] love [hitting here]," Cano said. "You hit a fly ball, it's a double. You hit it pretty good here you've got a chance…It's a different story when you hit a ball good, at least you have a double."
"It's a good group, top to bottom, and that's kind of how you draw it out," Seager said. "You want the top of your order getting on base like that and hopefully the middle to drive them in."
That formula is what the Mariners hope they can continue during this six-game road trip: getting runners on early and often for the middle of the lineup. Smith, who played a large part in that during Tuesday's game, called it "Baseball 101." He and Aoki saw lots of pitches from Jimenez early, got on base and let the power take over.
"This is what you have to do as a team, " Cano said. "Forget about what happened the past few days or the game before and go up there and take advantage of pitches over the plate, some walks and…when guys get on base you can really do a lot of damage."
It can break them out of a funk, too.
"It was good. It was a matter of time," Cruz said. "I think we lost those games there, we had a chance to win, come back, we stick with the positive stuff we get with those games and just do what we do best and score runs."
Jake Kring-Schreifels is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Mariners on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.