Iannetta adds 2 HRs, 4 RBIs to Walker's gem

Iannetta adds 2 HRs, 4 RBIs to Walker's gem

SEATTLE -- Chris Iannetta had one of the best offensive games of his 11-year Major League career in Wednesday night's 5-0 victory over the Indians, but predictably, the Mariners catcher was more interested in talking about starting pitcher Taijuan Walker.

"Taijuan was great," Iannetta said after the 23-year-old allowed just three hits with 11 strikeouts over eight scoreless frames. "He really was. He had great intensity and rhythm and tempo. He dominated."

Iannetta was pretty imposing himself on this night, slamming a pair of home runs, racking up four RBIs and getting a trio of hits from the No. 9 spot in the batting order. His second homer was projected at 456 feet by Statcast™, an upper-deck bolt that is the second-longest recorded ball hit this year by a Mariner.

Statcast: Iannetta's long homer

Manager Scott Servais credited Iannetta for working through a tough stretch last month and emerging with a hot June, as he's hit .400 (10-for-25) with four doubles, two homers and six RBIs over his last seven games to hike his average from .202 to .233.

"He's a pro," Servais said. "He's very hard on himself, probably as hard as anybody we have on our team. He got a few hits to fall in Texas, started to get a little confidence back there. He's been struggling a little against right-handed pitching, but his at-bats tonight were awesome. He squared up a couple.

"The second home run was a bomb. He really hit that one. It's a long season, and he's been through the grind before. You can't get too high or too low, but it's nice to see him bounce back here in June. It's been very encouraging."

Iannetta was 1-for-8 with three strikeouts in his career against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, but he jumped on a first-pitch changeup for his two-run homer in the third and then unloaded with his solo shot in the fifth in just the second two-homer game of his career.

Walker's eight shutout innings

"I've faced him a bunch and he's a great pitcher," Iannetta said. "He's got a great arsenal. He pitched a really good ballgame tonight, he really did. I was thankful to barrel a couple balls up."

Iannetta finished off his night with an RBI double off Zach McAllister, lacing a shot over the center fielder's head after fouling off three pitches in a row in a two-strike situation. In the end, it was a night to remember. And for the 32-year-old veteran, a reminder that he just needs to stick with his process and results will come.

"You play a while, you're going to go through stretches where you don't get results," he said. "I was taking comfort in that mechanically and in the cage, all my work was great. So just keep rolling and eventually it's going to return."

It was the same message he had for Walker, who worked on some mechanical issues to get more push from his legs after a lackluster stretch when he'd lost six straight. And the results were eye-opening.

"There's going to be a learning curve," Iannetta said. "When you introduce a couple new things to him in the middle of two starts and he picks it up that quickly, it's a credit to him and his athleticism. He's a young pitcher, but he's got the potential to be a No. 1 or 2 on a staff. If he keeps going like that, working hard and keeping his head on straight, he's going to be good for a long time."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.