Seattle slugs their way into history books with sweep of Royals

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Photo credit @mariners

Your 13-2 Seattle Mariners just set the record for most team home runs in consecutive games to start a series. 15 games in Dee Gordon, of all people, launched a 360-foot homer to right field to move the Mariners past the 2002 Cleveland Indians for that honor.  So far, every position player has hit a homer for the Mariners and they now lead the MLB in home runs and batting average.

The Mariners sweep of the woebegone Kansas City Royals this week had a little bit of everything, they won a blow out, they snapped a win out of a sure defeat, and even took it to extra innings when needed.

Apr 8 @ Kansas City W 13 – 5
The Royals got off to a strong start chasing off the M’s starting pitcher Felix Hernandez. King Felix was suffering from an illness and it showed as he was pulled in the 1st inning after allowing 2 runs. Never fear as an 8 run barrage in the 6th inning chased off KC’s starter Homer Bailey.

A duo of 400ft plus homers by Edwin Encarnacion and Daniel Vogelbach (2nd of the day) punctuated a theme of this season by bludgeoning the opposition into submission. Dylan Moore and Jay Bruce would slug shots for 432 ft and 446 ft in the game showing off to the MLB that this offense is for real.

Apr 9 @ Kansas City W 6 – 3
Marco Gonzales notched his MLB leading 4th win of the season as he struck out 5 and allowed just 3 runs (2 earned) over 6 innings. Reliever Brandon Brennan shone again in relief as he went 2 innings allowing just 2 base-runners. Brennan hasn’t been flashy but he has been solid in his appearances allowing zero runs in 9 innings.

“Our lineup, top to bottom, has been really good,” manager Scott Servais said. “We had the one home run early, and I say `just one home run’ because we’re used to more. We were able to tack on some runs late which was really helpful.”

Dee Gordon was a bit of a maniac as he had 3 runs, a stolen base, and 2 RBI. With slick fielding plays all day, he has been the strongest influence in the M’s weak defense.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost said Gordon was the difference for Seattle. “Four times we had opportunities there that were just right there,” he said. “All four, Dee Gordon. We just hit them right to where he could just barely get enough reach on them.”

Apr 10 @ Kansas City W 6 – 5
Not all the Mariner wins were blowouts, as Wednesday’s game saw another pitching meltdown. Starter Yusei Kikuchi had a mixed beginning to the game, but he did make it 6 innings, yielding just 3 runs on a team that 3 runs should win the game.

Unfortunately, former Everett AquaSox (and friend of Seattle Sports Union) Matt Festa suffered another setback. Hot hitting Whit Merrifield broke George Brett’s Royals hitting streak on a but base hit. That hit drove in the game tying run as Terrance Gore bolted in from 3rd.

Mitch Haniger would show grit in the 9th inning as he clubbed a solo shot to deep right field for the go ahead and winning run.

Apr 11 @ Kansas City W 7 – 6
If you enjoyed the close game on Wednesday, Thursday had surprises with a 10th inning game also won on a home run, this time a 427ft shot by Vogelbach—his 6th of the season.

The Mariners actually trailed 6-3 until the 8th inning when Encarnacion hit a single to score Haniger. The 9th inning would see a Haniger triple to score Omar Narvaez and Gordon.

Brandon Brennan would show his worth yet again with a perfect 9th inning that saw him strike out the side, helping the M’s recover from another bullpen meltdown, this time by Erik Swanson and a somewhat shaky start by Mike Leake who allowed 3 home runs.

SSU Player of the Series
We could give this to Vogelbach for his homers, or Haniger for the resurgence of his hitting, or about 5 other offensive players—but we are not going to do that. The unsung hero this week and all season is a Rule 5 draft pick and former White Sox career minor leaguer Brandon Brennan.

The right-handed Californian had bounced around from the University of Oregon and Orange Coast College before being drafted by the Chicago White Sox. He toiled there for 7 years at various levels of the minors before going to the Colorado Rockies, and then being selected by the Mariners.

It has been a long time coming for the rookie, but in his first 9 2/3 innings in the big leagues he has yet to give up a run and has a .128 batting average against. In a bullpen looking for help, the M’s may have uncovered a gem.


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