By Todd Dybas The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Back on June 20, Kyle Seager hit a Tommy Hanson pitch 105 mph off the bat for a home run in Angels Stadium.
It was the start of a historical run.
Michael Saunders’ second-inning homer Sunday gave the Mariners a home run in 22 consecutive games, extending the club record. It’s the ninth-longest streak in MLB history.
During the run, nine Mariners have produced 35 home runs. Not surprisingly, Raul Ibanez has provided the bulk of the power. He’s hit 10 long balls in the 22-game stretch.
Everyone has joined in. The unlikeliest homer came when Brendan Ryan kept the streak alive with the team’s only homer July 10. He hit it in the eighth inning off Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman, who carried a no-hitter for six innings Sunday in his first major-league start.
Kyle Seager, whose single to left extended his hitting streak to 14 games on Sunday, has seven homers in the streak.
Kendrys Morales has six homers during the same stretch. Justin Smoak, who is in the midst of a two-month uptick, has hit four. Jason Bay has three, Saunders has two and, amazingly, Franklin Gutierrez even has one.
The Mariners are tied for second in the majors with Toronto at 115 homers. They trail only Baltimore (132) at the All-Star break.
Of those 115, 54 have come at Safeco Field and 61 on the road.
The Texas Rangers hit a home run in 27 consecutive games in 2002 to set the league record.
Reliever Stephen Pryor (torn lat) will join Class A Everett either Tuesday or Wednesday. If all goes well there, he will join the Rainiers after.
Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring) will work out over the All-Star break, then be sent to Tacoma for another rehab assignment. Manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez’s absence — he’s played in just 18 games this year — is “no doubt the biggest loss for us.”
Michael Morse (thigh) will remain in Seattle and workout. He’s not ready for a rehab assignment, yet.
Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma were named to the American League All-Star game, but only Hernandez might pitch. Iwakuma was replaced Sunday by Royals closer Greg Holland since he would not be available to pitch.
Rainiers starter Taijuan Walker pitched an inning in Sunday’s MLB Futures Game. He forced two ground outs, a fly out and allowed a walk. His fastball reached 97 mph.