Justin Smoak and the Seattle Mariners made everyone forget they’re one of the worst hitting teams in baseball.
Smoak hit two three-run homers against his former team and the Mariners used a pair of early eight-run innings to rout the Texas Rangers for the second straight game, winning 21-8 Wednesday night.
Smoak had three hits to go with his career high for RBIs as Seattle reached double digits for runs in back-to-back games against the AL West leaders. Jesus Montero homered among his three hits and drove in four runs and Kyle Seager had four hits and two RBIs. Every Seattle starter had at least one hit in amassing 20 hits.
Dustin Ackley also had a three-run homer in support of former Rangers minor league prospect Blake Beavan (3-4).
”We were hitting with a lot of confidence up there tonight,” said Seager, the best hitter in the Mariners’ lineup at .265 with All-Star Ichiro Suzuki given a rest day.
The Mariners came in hitting .229, 13th of 14 in the American League.
”Hitting is contagious. We kind of got on a little roll there and everybody was feeling good, real relaxed and everything. It was just one of those days.”
Rangers starter Derek Holland (4-4) gave up eight hits, eight runs and two walks in 1 2-3 innings Seattle had lost five in a row before beating Texas 10-3 Tuesday night. They scored eight runs in the second and third innings en rout to scoring the second-most runs in club history, equaling a 21-9 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 30, 2000.
Coincidentally, that was the same day the Rangers gave up the most runs in club history, a 23-2 loss at Oakland.
The Mariners started the game with only one player hitting better than .250 in the lineup. No matter, they sent 27 batters to the plate in the second and third innings, scoring 16 runs on 15 hits – tying their season high for a game – including three home runs.
The 21 runs are the most scored in the majors this season, topping the Rangers and Rockies, who have each scored 18 runs.
”Obviously these guys really put it together here the last couple of nights,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ”You’re seeing a lot of what we’ve been talking about in regard to potential with these young players.”
Holland got off to a quick start, retiring the top of the first in order, including strikeouts of Chone Figgins and Seager.
The Mariners found their groove in the second, sending 13 batters to the plate. Ackley and Montero each homered and accounted for five RBIs, all with two outs, in the inning.
Miguel Olivo had two RBIs in the inning, and Seager had one.
Only Michael Saunders did not reach safely in the inning, though he made up for that with a double and a run scored to start the Mariners’ eight-run third inning.
Montero had two more RBIs and Smoak added a three-run home run.
The Rangers needed 97 pitches to retire six hitters.
Holland, who was 6-1 in seven career starts against Seattle, including 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA since the start of last season, threw 41 pitches in the second inning before being relieved by Yoshinori Tateyama.
Tateyama got the final out of the second, but recorded only one out in the third, giving up seven hits and six earned runs.
”It’s really upsetting to have something like that happen to you when you’ve been working so hard,” said Holland, who threw 41 pitches in the second inning after a breezing through the first in 10.
”I did not give my team a chance to win,” he said. ”It’s a big letdown on my part.”
The Mariners added four more in the eighth. Ackley reached and scored on Seager’s double, his fourth hit, and Montero walked for the second time before Smoak hit his second home run.
The Rangers tried to make a game of it, sending nine men to the plate in scoring five runs in the sixth. Texas added two in the seventh.
”I wish I wouldn’t have given up a couple of those runs that last inning,” said Beavan, who gave up five runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
”But that’s how it goes when you just go after guys and you’re throwing majority fastballs and you’ve got a lead like that,” Beavan added.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton, who was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with a respiratory illness, was 2 for 4 with two doubles, one a run-scoring hit that increased his major league-leading RBI total to 57.
”We just couldn’t get anybody out in those two innings,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”Guys swung the bat over there tonight.
”We’ve got to live with it and move on,” he said. ”That’s all we can do.”
NOTES: Hamilton has hit safely in 40 of 47 games this season. Rangers manager Ron Washington gave shortstop Elvis Andrus the night off. Andrus acknowledged the time off was a mental break after he committed an error on Tuesday. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw out the ceremonial first pitch – high but across the plate – caught by Rangers reliever Mike Adams, a Cowboys season-ticket holder.