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Mariners pound out 8-2 victory over Red Sox

The Seattle Times

June 25. 2014 2:28AM
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell observes batting practice before Tuesday's game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

SEATTLE -- Lloyd McClendon wouldn't listen to any talk of Safeco Field being a hitter's wasteland.

Before the game Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox, the Seattle Mariners manager shrugged off the notion.

"I know they've brought the fences in some, and over the last couple years, it's played pretty fair," he said.

On a warm, short-sleeve summer night, the Mariners made Safeco Field look like a hitter's paradise, driving baseballs all over the park in an 8-2 victory over Boston.

With the win, the Mariners now are a season-high six games over .500 at 42-36. The last time a Mariners team was six games over .500 was in 2009.

After scoring 12 runs the day before, Seattle hitters bashed a pair of deep home runs and banged out three more extra-base hits to look nothing like the team that has struggled to score runs at home for much of the season.

The Mariners broke the game open in the fifth inning, turning a 3-2 lead into a 7-2 snoozer.

With one out and runners on first and second, Kyle Seager continued his one-man pursuit to prove that Safeco can be friendly to hitters. Seager jumped on a low cut fastball from Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, golfing a towering fly ball that stayed just inside the right-field foul pole and ricocheted off the windows of the Hit it Here Cafe in the upper deck. It was estimated to have traveled 396 feet.

It was Seager's 11th homer of the season and pushed his RBI total to 53 -- both team highs. He also had a run-scoring double in the first inning. Seager has driven in two or more runs in five consecutive home games -- a club record. He's on pace to drive in 116 runs this season.

But the more impressive numbers are what he's done at home in a park where hitters aren't supposed to be rewarded. He's dominated, hitting .328 (42 for 128) at home this season with 10 of his homers and 36 of his runs driven in coming at home. His OPS in 37 games at Safeco this season is over 1.000.

Two batters later, Mike Zunino, who has displayed power that isn't affected by any park or climate, crushed a solo homer into the Mariners' bullpen off Peavy to make it 7-2. It was Zunino's 10th homer of the season and third in four games. The 10 homers are the most for any catcher in the American League.

The Mariners tacked on another run in the eighth on a Brad Miller run-scoring single to make it 8-2. The plethora of run support helped provide plenty of cushion for a bullpen that was called on early.

Starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez delivered another uneven performance, pitching just 4-1/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts. Ramirez came into the game with a scoreless streak of 16-2/3 innings. He pushed it over 19 innings, working three scoreless but shaky innings to start the game.

But in the fourth inning and pitching with a 3-0 lead, he gave up a two-out homer to Brock Holt.

Ramirez didn't make it out of the fourth, getting just one out and then giving up a single to Mike Napoli and walking Daniel Nava.

Lefty Joe Beimel came in to work out of the jam with a strikeout of AJ Pierzynski and a fielder's choice.

From there, McClendon used a parade of relievers to close out the game.

It might have been Ramirez's last start for a while. While he has pitched better recently, the Mariners have been patiently waiting for prized prospect Taijuan Walker to build up his innings count and arm strength at Class AAA Tacoma. Walker, who was purposely pitching on the same days as Ramirez, pitched a gem at Cheney Stadium on Tuesday night, tossing a four-hit, complete-game shutout, striking out seven and walking one.

It was the type of outing that showed the consistent command the Mariners have been waiting to see from Walker.

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