By David Krueger Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Saturday night’s 7-0 win over the Minnesota Twins ended a season-high seven-game losing streak for the Mariners, and more than one player said it’s much more enjoyable riding a winning streak, even if it is just for two games.
“To be honest, it’s a lot more fun in the clubhouse,” said outfielder Michael Saunders. “Coming away with the win, I think it lifted some weight off guys’ shoulders.”
“It’s much more fun when you’re winning,” agreed shortstop Brendan Ryan, who attributed the streak to a young team’s “growing pains.”
According to Saunders, there was “no sense of panic whatsoever.” He said no team has ever won all 162 games, and losing streaks are just a part of baseball.
“Obviously, everyone in here wants to win every game if we can,” Saunders said. “We know that’s not going to happen. We know we’re going to lose ball games.”
Over half (four) of the seven games were lost by one run. Saunders said that if the Mariners can improve in some situational hitting, they can come out and offset it with an extended winning streak.
“The last time we had a little losing stretch we went out there and won four straight, so there’s no reason why we can’t do that again,” Saunders said.
Seager continues to roll
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager continued a strong week and a half with an RBI single in Sunday’s game.
In his past 11 games, Seager is .359 (14-for-39) with seven runs scored, three doubles, three homers and 11 RBI. He currently leads the team with 17 runs batted in.
“I could tell early on in spring training the way the ball was coming off his bat was just different than last year, and he’s brought that into the season,” said M’s manager Eric Wedge. “… He has a great swing, always has. That’s why he’s always been a hitter.”
Wedge challenged nine players — including Seager — to work extensively in the offseason. He wanted Seager to work on improving his strength, agility and flexibility for the 2012 season.
The only thing Seager hasn’t done early this season is walk. He walked for just the third time Sunday afternoon in 95 plate appearances. However, that doesn’t concern Wedge. He says if Seager continues to hit like he has, the walks will come.
“I don’t care about that,” Wedge said. “The bottom line is, he keeps hitting the way he’s going to hit, he’s going to walk, because he’s going to scare (pitchers) out of the zone.”
Twins’ fans are suffering
The Minnesota Twins record dropped to a league worst 7-20 (.259 winning percentage) with Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Seattle.
The Twins’ offense has hit 14 home runs, which is the least in the American League and next to last in the majors — San Diego has hit 12. Ryan Doumit’s homer in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game ended a span of 259 plate appearances without a home run for Minnesota.
Minnesota’s five hits on Sunday gave the Twins 14 hits in its past five games.
On the mound the Twins have also struggled. Their starting pitchers are 4-16, with the fewest wins of any starting rotation in baseball. Nick Blackburn (0-4, 6.84 earned-run average), Sunday’s starter, has not won a game since July 8, 2011.