SEATTLE -- On another day, with some different pitching results, Franklin Gutierrez might have been the hero once again for the Mariners. Instead, the 33-year-old outfielder turned into a footnote in Seattle's 11-6 loss on a day the Cardinals cranked out six home runs.
Still, it's always good for the Mariners to see positive signs from their 33-year-old right fielder and Gutierrez has been on a roll of late. The 2010 American League Gold Glove winner brought back memories of his prime when he went to the top of the wall to rob Matt Carpenter of an extra-base hit in the second inning, then tied the game at 6 with a three-run blast in the sixth.
That long ball was lost in the avalanche of five Cardinals homers in the ensuing three innings, but at the time, it loomed large.
"It was big, tying the game right there," Gutierrez said. "It gave us an opportunity to score some more runs, but we couldn't do it. It was a tough loss today."
Gutierrez, in his first full season in the Majors since sitting out 2014 to deal with his ankylosing spondylitis nerve condition, has heated up after a slow start. He's batted .407 (11-for-27) with seven runs, four homers and 10 RBIs in his last nine games and is hitting .266 with nine homers on the year in just 128 at-bats as a platoon outfielder.
"That was a big hit and he made a great catch in the outfield," said manager Scott Servais. "He's a good player. We see it. He's gone through a lot in his career to still be able to get out here on a consistent basis. He still has a great feel to play the outfield and plenty of a power. That was a big hit for us to get us right back in the game."
On the catch, Gutierrez said he had to cover extra ground since they were playing the left-handed hitting Carpenter to pull the ball. The drive appeared headed for at least the top of the wall, but Gutierrez declined to speculate whether it had a chance to go out.
"It was pretty close. I'm not sure," he said. "I don't even think about that, I just try to make the play."
As for his recent hot spell? Gutierrez, who has to watch his diet and do stretching and preparation each day to manage his medical condition, says he's just feeling good and ready to contribute when called on.
"I'm alright. I'm fine," he said. "I'm preparing myself every day for any opportunity I can get. I'm just getting comfortable right now."
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.