MILWAUKEE — The obvious justification for the Mariners’ most recent success, which included a three-game winning streak, would be the level of competition played.
Taking three of four from the Baltimore Orioles, the worst team in baseball, is expected even for a team that has played only marginally better.
But Seattle showed that it’s more than capable of playing well against better competition Tuesday night at Miller Park.
Behind an offense that’s picked up its production in the month of June and a solid showing from the beleaguered bullpen, the Mariners rolled to an 8-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that is quite the opposite of the Orioles in every way.
Seattle banged out 12 hits and worked eight walks for constant traffic on the bases. It’s the sort of thing that the offense did early in the season and then got away from in a miserable May where the team went 7-21.
Perhaps the biggest moment in the game came in the sixth inning when right-hander Cory Gearrin replaced starter Marco Gonzales with Seattle leading 7-3.
After recording one out, Gearrin issued a walk, and an error by shortstop J.P. Crawford put another runner on base. With two outs and reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich coming to the plate, manager Scott Servais went to the excitable Austin Adams and his many sliders.
Adams ended the drama. He struck out Yelich looking on a nasty slider. He returned to pitch the seventh, working a 1-2-3 inning that included swinging strikeouts of Ryan Braun and Mike Moustakas.
Gonzales gave the Mariners a usable if not completely efficient outing against a potent Brewers lineup. He worked five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Milwaukee grabbed an early 1-0 lead against Gonzales. With two outs in the first inning and Braun on second, third baseman Kyle Seager misplayed a routine ground ball off the bat of Moustakas to allow unearned run to score.
The Mariners broke open the game in the third and fourth inning against Brewers starter Kyle Davies. The speedy duo at the top of the lineup got the first run. Mallex Smith looped a ball into right field that turned into a hustling double. Crawford followed with a line drive to the right-center gap that went for a RBI triple.
Facing his old team, Domingo Santana scored Crawford with a double off the glove of shortstop Orlando Arcia that made it 2-1. And then Daniel Vogelbach punctuated the inning with a towering two-run homer, his 19th, to the second deck in right field.
Seattle tacked on two runs in the fourth aided by some sloppy defense from the Brewers. Back-to-back errors on Dee Gordon’s ground ball to third and Gonzales’ sacrifice bunt allowed a run to score. Crawford scored another run on a ground ball to second that made it 6-1.
After the prolonged first inning, Gonzales worked the next three innings scoreless, allowing just two baserunners. But he struggled in the fifth, giving up a solo homer to Orlando Arcia and a RBI single to Jesus Aguilar before getting former teammate Ben Gamel to pop out to end the inning.