ARLINGTON -- Mike Zunino suffered through a brutal August at the plate, but the second-year Mariners catcher feels like he is headed back in a positive direction as September unfolds.
Zunino hit a solo homer in the Mariners' victory over the Rangers on Friday night and also had a hit in the series opener Thursday. Two hits in eight at-bats aren't enough to crow about, but Zunino went just 9-for-63 (.143) in August, with 29 strikeouts in 20 games.
"I think his at-bats have been better his last 10-12 at-bats," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He's making a conscious effort to stay on the ball."
Zunino's 20th homer Friday set a record for most homers by a Seattle catcher. He has 25 homers in his first 163 career games, second in the AL behind Kansas City's Salvador Perez (27).
But Zunino is second in the Majors in strikeout percentage (33.4 percent) among players with 400-plus plate appearances this season.
"No one likes to strike out -- it's one of those things where you continue to adapt to how guys are throwing to you," Zunino said.
"I'm just trying to focus on taking a good path to the ball and getting pitches I can hit," he said. "I've been putting a lot of work into it. For me it's just trying to buy into that and have good at-bats. … When you do it wrong for so long, you've got to change it."
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.