"We see those big guys start hitting, and it makes everything easier," Motter said. "We know they're getting into a groove, our pitching is getting into a groove and us younger guys are getting into a groove. Everything is starting to come together."
Left-hander Ariel Miranda appreciated the support, as he hurled seven scoreless innings to even his record at 1-1 and lower his ERA to 3.06. The Marlins managed just four singles off the 28-year-old Cuban in a 97-pitch outing.
Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler lasted only four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts, as his ERA rose to 5.40 after three starts.
"This is one of those games where you halfway expect it to be a little bit flat from our end, from the standpoint of that last series, and you're looking for your starter to kind of calm it early," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, referring to his team's recent heavy bullpen use. "When you get behind early, it puts us in a little bit of a bind, and if we could have kept it there I think we would have been OK, too, but we weren't able to keep them down then."
The Marlins had a three-game win streak snapped, falling to 7-6 and a half-game back of Washington in the National League East. The Mariners' recent surge has moved them into a tie for second with the Angels at 6-8 behind front-running Houston in the early American League West race.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Turning up the power: Mariners standouts Cano and Cruz got off to slow starts this season, but the two sluggers cranked back-to-back blasts off Koehler in the first inning, and both were well struck. Cano's two-run shot traveled an estimated 441 feet, his second-longest homer of the Statcast™ era (since 2015). Cruz followed with a 410-foot shot to center for a 3-0 lead. It was the second homer for both Cano and Cruz, who combined for 82 last season.
"Obviously it's great to see those guys come out and pick it up, and get it going," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "That's what drives the train, the middle of our lineup. Hopefully we can get those guys in a nice, consistent rhythm."
What's the Motter? Losing shortstop Jean Segura to a strained hamstring in last week's home opener seemed like a tough blow for the Mariners, but Motter has been a revelation. The 27-year-old utility man continues providing a big right-handed bat as Segura's replacement. Motter's third homer in the past five games was a second-deck shot off Marlins reliever Jose Urena in the fifth, projected at 413 feet by Statcast™. Motter went 2-for-4 and is batting .321, with seven of his nine hits going for extra bases (four doubles and three homers).
"The ball jumps off his bat," Servais said. "He's a good fastball hitter, looking for his pitch. And he's getting it. He ain't missing it. He's brought a very nice spark to our team. I know it's the character and hair, and all the other stuff, you can do all those things, but you still have to be a good player. Otherwise it doesn't do anything. And he's played great. Really stepped up when we needed him with Segura being down."
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 7.00 ERA) will take the hill for the Marlins in Tuesday's game against the Mariners at Safeco Field at 10:10 p.m. ET. Chen is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA in eight career starts against Seattle.
Mariners: Veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo will be looking for his first win in Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. PT matchup against the Marlins. Gallardo is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA through his first two starts. The 31-year-old has pitched well against Miami in the past, going 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA in eight career starts.