SEATTLE — Whether it was a collection of low-scoring victories that kept the Seattle Mariners in contention in June or the 17-game losing streak in July when one run per game was a struggle, manager Eric Wedge continued to make a promise.
Wedge insisted that the Mariners’ offense, minim
al as it was, would improve. He said the hitters would adopt a more effective approach, become aggressive and get better. And if they didn’t, he hinted often and strongly that they would get new hitters.
Sunday, in a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox, the Mariners continued an August surge built around quality pitching but also the support of an offense that has, indeed, improved.
The Mariners are averaging 4.25 runs per game this month; during the July losing streak they averaged 2.5.
It has given them seven victories in 12 games this month, including two of three from the Red Sox. The Mariners have won two series already this month after winning one in July.
With Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Casper Wells, Kyle Seager, Trayvon Robinson and Wily Mo Pena — all added in the past two months — the Mariners are a much-different team.
The roster has changed and, in the past dozen games, so have the results.
“Our at-bats as a team have been much better,” Wedge said.
The victories, and the across-the-board numbers, show that. After batting .218 as a team in July, the Mariners are hitting .282 this month.
“Be prepared to hit every pitch but also with a focus and a mindset that’s appropriate for that particular situation,” Wedge said. “When you do get two strikes, you have to stick your nose in there and not give in to him, make him get you out.”
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits Sunday off Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield and he has a 10-game hitting streak, batting .326 during the streak.
Franklin Gutierrez had one hit and a sacrifice fly and is batting .462 during a seven-game hitting streak.
Carp drove home a run in the Mariners’ three-run third inning and he’s batting .368 in a 14-game hitting streak.
And Wells, acquired July 30 in a trade with the Tigers, continued to be a tough out. He walked and scored in the third and hit a leadoff home run in the sixth off Wakefield.
“His ball can dart to the left or right, or stay up or dive down,” Wells said. “You know he’s going to pound the strike zone. You’ve got to stay within yourself and get a pitch to hit. That ball was down and in and I just got some wood on it.”
Wells has homered in three of his past four games at Safeco Field and has hit safely in all six games he’s played there since the trade.
“He has some raw power,” Wedge said. “The one thing that sticks out to me with Casper is that he sticks his nose in there. He fights through at-bats and when you do that, you’re going to benefit from it.”
It took them a while Sunday, but the Mariners dinged Wakefield with three runs in the third inning, aided by two Red Sox errors. Jack Wilson’s infield single drove home Wells, Gutierrez lifted a sacrifice fly and Carp’s RBI single made it 3-0.
The Red Sox scored in the fourth on Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly off Mariners starter Charlie Furbush, but the Mariners added another run in the fifth on Ackley’s RBI single for a 4-1 lead.
Wells’ homer made it 5-1, with Furbush cruising in his third start since arriving in the trade with the Tigers.
The 25-year-old left-hander held the Red Sox without a hit until Adrian Gonzalez’s one-out single in the fourth, and he pitched around leadoff singles in the sixth and seventh to complete the best of his starts with the Mariners. He allowed four hits and one run in seven innings.
“He did a great job of repeating his delivery, and because of that he was real consistent with his fastball,” Wedge said. “He was able to move it around. He did a good job with his breaking ball, especially to left-handers, and he was very poised with good tempo. There was a lot to like out there.”
Finally, Wedge can say that about the Mariners’ offense, too.
Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog and follow his Twitter updates at @kirbyarnold.