On a sunny Saturday afternoon at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, the Mariners put on a power-hitting display that left fans in awe. The day was not only marked by an overwhelming 15-2 victory against the Royals but also by Julio Rodríguez’s record-breaking performance as the fastest player in franchise history to reach 50 career home runs.
Rodríguez’s milestone moment came in the fifth inning when he launched a two-run shot that traveled 410 feet. This impressive feat was achieved in just his 256th career game, surpassing the previous record held by Alex Rodríguez, who accomplished the feat in 269 games. Rodríguez’s incredible achievement added to his already remarkable season, where he has notched 35 stolen bases, joining the elite company of players like Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr., who achieved a 50-50 record in their first two seasons in both the American and National Leagues.
In the midst of Rodríguez’s record-breaking performance, he remained humble, focusing on his contribution to the team’s success. “Honestly, that’s not my main focus,” Rodríguez stated, Just being able to support the squad, hit all those home runs, and help the team succeed during that time makes me happy. But let’s carry on nonetheless.
Rodríguez’s impressive hitting streak extended to 11 games, solidifying his candidacy for the AL Player of the Month for August. However, he was just one part of the Mariners’ offensive onslaught on this memorable afternoon.
Seattle’s power surge began with Josh Rojas leading off the third inning with a home run, an at-bat that started with a bunt attempt. Teoscar Hernández followed with a grand slam, his first of the year and the Mariners’ fourth grand slam of the season. Mike Ford contributed with a two-run blast, capping off a seven-run third inning. Rodríguez’s milestone homer came in the fifth inning, followed by a solo shot from Cal Raleigh in the sixth, marking his 25th home run of the year, the most in MLB. Cade Marlowe added to the fireworks with a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh, and Hernández closed the show with another home run in the eighth.
Incredibly, all but two of the Mariners’ runs were scored via the long ball, with the other two runs driven in by Teoscar Hernández on an RBI forceout and J.P. Crawford with an RBI single. The team’s offensive prowess on this day tied the franchise record for seven home runs, a feat previously achieved four times but not since 2002.
The offensive outburst provided ample cushion for starting pitcher Logan Gilbert, who delivered seven innings of one-run ball. Gilbert has been a key contributor to the Mariners’ turnaround in 2023, as the team boasts an impressive 9-1 record in his starts since July 4th. The Mariners’ pitching staff, combined with their red-hot offense, has propelled the team to their fourth straight series win and 10th in their last 11 games.
As the Mariners continue their pursuit of the division title, they find themselves tied for first place in the American League West. Their August record of 18-5, with four games remaining, puts them on the cusp of setting a franchise record for most wins in a month. Despite their remarkable performance, Rodríguez remains grounded, stating, We’re not hot, and I’m going to keep repeating it. We’re just doing what I know we can do with the ball.
The Mariners’ surge is not only thrilling for their fans but also raising questions about their potential as they approach the high-stakes moments of the season. With both a formidable pitching staff and a red-hot offense, the Mariners are poised to make a serious run at the division title and beyond.