I’m as surprised as anyone. After years of futility, the Mariner offense has turned a new leaf and raked the whole yard, too. After the departure of Ken Griffey Jr. and the end of the 2001 season, offense has been at an absolute premium in the thick Puget Sound air at Safeco Field. The signings of Robinson Canó and Nelson Cruz, as well as the trade and extension for Jean Segura have given the Mariners plenty of firepower, and it’s all coming together.
Perhaps nobody else embodies this offensive surge better than catcher Mike Zunino, who came through with a walk and two homers, including the walk-off two-run shot in last night’s game, and also posted seven RBIs and was a triple shy of the cycle just a few days ago. Zunino has been batting over .300 since his two week stay in Tacoma last month after hitting below the Mendoza line for the first bit of the season.
“He’s bought in and he understands,” manager Scott Servais told MLB.com’s Greg Johns. “He’s been able to make adjustments. Last night he struck out three times and I asked him today and he knew right away what he was going to go to. ‘I got a little quick, I have to slow my leg kick down, my timing is going to be fine and I’ll be OK.’ Just getting that response back versus the wide-eyed, ‘I don’t know,’ he’s a much, much different player right now.”
Thanks to Zunino’s heroics last night, the M’s are now officially back at .500 and second to the MLB-leading Houston Astros in the AL West. The team has gone 9-1 in their last ten games and 10-3 for their last thirteen, combining for 46 runs in their current five-game winning streak.
Last night was the closest contest of the winning streak, with Yovani Gallardo struggling (again) and giving up five runs. I tweeted out during the game that I believed the M’s would never be able to put together a streak longer than four games as long as Gallardo is in the rotation.
I’ve never been happier to be wrong.
The M’s look to go out and complete their second consecutive sweep tonight against Minnesota, Christian Bergman, who has been outstanding filling in for the regular starters, takes the mound.