By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — What if the Seattle Mariners, after their recent roster additions, are starting to put it together offensively? Think about that just a moment. Really, what if the Mariners, with their pitching, start to score some runs?
It’s not just their 13-3 pummeling of the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night, when they jumped to a five-run lead at Safeco Field by hitting three homers and then kept going.
The Mariners have now scored at least four runs in three straight games and, as pedestrian as that seems — OK, not seems; as pedestrian as that is — it’s the first time they’ve done that in more than five weeks.
“We haven’t done that (much) for the whole year,” second baseman Robinson Cano said. “We’d have a game where we score five, and then the next two games, we just get one or two runs.
“Hopefully, we’ll continue doing the same thing.”
This was a balanced 12-hit attack that scored multiple runs in five straight from the fourth through the eighth. This is an attack, remember, that scored two or fewer runs in 42 of its previous 113 games.
“We had a good night,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I think we’re coming (offensively). We’re getting there … I like the talk. I like the walk.”
There was a little late theater, too.
Chicago slugger Jose Abreu was hit twice by pitches, which prompted an apparent retaliation when Maikel Cleto started the eighth by hitting Kendrys Morales.
When home-plate umpire Toby Blaser warned both benches, McClendon came out to argue — and got thrown out the game.
“If you thought (Cleto) threw at him,” McClendon said, “he should be ejected from the game. Not a warning.”
Once play resumed, Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer. That was the Mariners’ fourth home run of the game; just their second four-homer game of the season. The other was June 30 in a 10-4 victory at Houston.
The Mariners built a 5-0 lead by hitting three homers against Chicago starter Scott Carroll. Dustin Ackley hit a solo shot in the first before Endy Chavez and Cano added two-run drives in the fourth and fifth.
Chavez’s drive boosted a 1-0 lead to 3-0 and woke up the dugout.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” he said, “but when you hit the ball good, good things can happen.”
After the White Sox knocked out Roenis Elias (9-9) on Dayan Viciedo’s homer in the sixth, the Mariners answered with three runs later in the inning. The Mariners then scored three more in the seventh.
That pushed the lead to 11-2 before Chicago clipped Danny Farquhar for one run in the eighth. Now…the last time the Mariners won by more than four runs? July 1, in a 13-2 romp at Houston.
Ackley had a two-run single in addition to his homer. Chavez had an RBI single in addition to his two-run homer. Cano had a single and two walks before getting replaced by Brad Miller in the seventh inning.
Miller played the final two defensive innings at second base.
The Mariners, who have won three in a row, are now 60-54 and trail Kansas City by one-half game in the race for the American League’s final wild-card spot.
New York and Toronto are also one-half game behind the Royals.
The Mariners optioned Elias to Triple-A Tacoma after the game because of his rising number of innings. They will make a corresponding move prior to Friday’s game and then announce a starting pitcher for Sunday on Saturday.
“I understand the move,” Elias said. “The team is doing what’s best for me. I’ve had a lot of innings so far, and they’re trying to keep me healthy.”
McClendon said the plan is to recall Elias for the Aug. 18-20 series at Philadelphia. McClendon also said the Mariners can get by with four starting pitchers until then.
Elias cruised through the first five innings and retired the first two batters in the sixth before hitting Abreu with an 0-2 pitch. Viciedo then rocked an elevated curve for a two-run homer.
That trimmed the Mariners’ lead to 5-2 and finished Elias, who yielded just two hits while striking out five in his 5 2/3 innings. Brandon Maurer finished the sixth by striking out Paul Konerko.
Carroll (4-7) started the Mariners’ sixth by walking Logan Morrison and hitting Mike Zunino. After Eric Surkamp replaced Carroll, Chavez sacrificed the runners to second and third.
The White Sox went to the bullpen again for Daniel Webb, who got Chris Taylor to hit a grounder to third with the infield shortened. The runners held.
It was a temporary reprieve.
Webb loaded the bases by walking Austin Jackson, and Ackley followed by squirting a two-run single past third for a 7-2 lead. After an intentional walk to Cano, a wild pitch scored Jackson.
The rout was on.