Lind putting early struggles far behind him

Lind putting early struggles far behind him

SEATTLE -- Before he crossed the plate, Adam Lind, representing the Mariners' winning run in Friday's walk-off victory over the Cardinals, tossed his helmet over the heads of his shouting teammates in celebration.

As he touched the plate, they engulfed him. The Safeco Field scoreboard shifted to display the 4-3 final score, and the Mariners drenched Lind with a full Gatorade cooler.

"It felt great," he said. "It was awesome. I'd do it again."

In his first year in Seattle, Lind struggled at the plate to start off the season. In April he hit .234 and had only one home run in 64 at-bats. The next month, he hit five dingers in 71 at-bats with a .282 batting average. In his past six games he has gone yard three times.

His improvement was evident, but the way manager Scott Servais looks at it, Lind would be even better if his hits didn't find leather so often.

"Lind has certainly swung the bat really well for us," Servais said. "He hasn't had a lot of luck. He's probably been our unluckiest hitter."

On Friday, Lind didn't leave it up to luck.

He stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with no outs, two on, down by two. Kyle Seager was standing on second after leading off the inning with a line drive double, and Dae-Ho Lee had just drawn a walk from Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal in a seven-pitch at bat.

Lind, a Brewer in 2015, had just spent a season in the NL Central along with the Cardinals. So he was familiar with Rosenthal.

"I know Trevor has been in that situation many times, tons of applied-pressure situations," Lind said. "But he had a long at bat against Dae-Ho, so I just wanted to see a pitch and see if he was going to be in the zone."

Lind watched two fastballs, a strike and a ball. Then he got his pitch.

The left-handed batter caught an 88-mile-per-hour changeup out in front and smashed a towering home run over the right field wall to win the game.

"I hit it on the sweet spot," Lind said.

Lind, who has platooned at first base with Lee the whole season, should see more at bats now that the Mariners have optioned Norichika Aoki to Triple-A Tacoma. With Seattle down a position player, Servais said Nelson Cruz will play more right field. That makes room for Lind and Lee start at first base and designated hitter.

Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.