DETROIT — Many years from now, when Kyle Seager tells his young son, Crue, about the time he hit three home runs in one game at Comerica Park, the description and distance of that magical third will probably have grown with time. The fact that it wasn’t going over the fence and probably should have been caught by Niko Goodrum won’t be mentioned. Of course, there is the little matter of the internet and video and the immediacy of Google searches.
Nevertheless, Seager’s three-homer night — the first of his career — helped the Seattle Mariners shrug off another suboptimal start from Yusei Kikuchi and roll to an 11-6 win over the Tigers, handing another loss to the worst team in baseball.
Seattle snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in 10 games. But it was the Mariners’ fifth consecutive win against Detroit this season.
“I don’t remember ever hitting three in a game at any level,” Seager said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever done it.”
Seager’s third homer turned a three-run lead into a comfortable victory, yes, even for the Mariners’ beleaguered bullpen.
With two outs and Domingo Santana on first, Seager launched a 2-1 fastball to left-center, which is not his typical power spot. The high fly ball kept carrying, but it became clear Goodrum was tracking it to make a play. Two steps onto the warning track the ball was just about to nestle into Goodrum’s glove when Brandon Dixon, filled with eagerness to make a play, collided with his teammate. The ball bounced off the heel of Goodrum’s glove and onto the top of the wall, rolling over it for a two-run homer.
“I was running, so I didn’t see it,” Seager said. “Everyone told me they knocked it over, but I’m going to have to find a replay online. When I tell the story, it’s going to be a no-doubter.”
Seager became the 13th Mariner to hit three or more homers in a game. He now has 14 on the season. The last Seattle player to hit three homers in a game came on Sept. 22, 2010, when Jose Lopez did it against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Seager’s second homer was the most pivotal in a game that seemed destined for defeat following Kikuchi’s four-run implosion in the fourth inning. But the Mariners, down three runs, unleashed on Tigers starter Matthew Boyd. The homer-hitting duo of Seager and Tom Murphy, who had hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning, did it again to ignite the sixth.
With one out and runners on first and second, Seager turned on a 1-1 slider from Boyd, yanking it deep into the right-field seats to tie the game at 6. Moments later, Murphy got a fastball up in the zone and pounded it deep into the left-field seats for a 7-6 lead.
“That was a lot of fun,” Murphy said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that.”
Seattle tacked on two more runs off Boyd. Dee Gordon singled, stole second and scored on Tim Lopes’ double to right. Mallex Smith filleted a double into shallow left to score Lopes for the final run of the inning.
After a solid but shortened outing of five innings in his previous start, Kikuchi had none of the crispness or life on his pitches against a Tigers lineup that he should have had success against. He managed to work the first two innings scoreless despite multiple base runners in each. After J.P. Crawford gave him a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the top of the third inning, Kikuchi gave it right back in the bottom half of the inning, allowing an RBI double to Miguel Cabrera.
Again Kikuchi’s teammates gave him a lead, with Seager and Murphy pulling their back-to-back homer trick with solo shots to right field off of Boyd that made it 3-1.