HOUSTON -- Veteran designated hitter Kendrys Morales hasn't yet provided big production in the middle of the Mariners' order, but he came up with a very timely hit in Thursday's 3-1 victory over the Angels -- a two-out single in the ninth that helped ignite the winning rally.
Morales has hit .211 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 49 games since being re-acquired from the Twins. Although he's flashed occasional signs of being the player who led the Mariners with home runs and RBIs a year ago, he's spent much of his two months in Seattle searching for his swing and timing.
But Thursday's base hit, off reliever Kevin Jepsen, kept the Mariners alive in a game they badly needed to win, helping set up Logan Morrison's three-run blast.
Morales, who missed all of Spring Training and the first two months of the season before signing with Minnesota, feels that he's close to breaking out.
"I've hit some balls fairly hard but not gotten any results," Morales said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "I'm also not striking out a lot lately, so I feel like I'm OK recently. But I think everybody knows what I've gone through this year as far as getting a late start and just trying to get situated, so I'm just focusing on going forward.
"That was a big result for us," he added of beating his former Angels squad one night after watching them clinch the American League West title. "We just have to come out every day and focus on that game. I'm just happy to be able to help out."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.