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Offense drives Mariners past Baltimore for third straight game

7/2 vs BAL by TOM HAYDEN

SAFECO FIELD, SEATTLE, WA. ----

BOOM! A good word to describe Saturday night's game in Seattle. Why? Because offensively Mariners' offense combined to put up 12 runs on 16 hits, 5 of which for home runs. In his 2016 MLB debut, C Mike Zunino (recent call-up from AAA Tacoma) connected for 2 home runs and 3 RBI. LHP James Paxton took the hill on Saturday night for his seventh start of the season. With the win, the M's now have a W-L record of 42-39 and are only 9.5 games behind the Texas Rangers and 1 game behind the Houston Astros. 

Offensively on Saturday night, the Mariners put up 12 runs on 16 hits. LF Seth Smith (.280 AVG) had himself a night going 3-5 at the plate with 4 RBI and a HR for the third straight game. Smith hit a 3-run HR in the fourth inning of this one for his ninth homer of the 2016 season. Smith now has 34 RBI on the season so far. RF Nelson Cruz (.283 AVG) also connected for a 3-run home run right from the start of this one, in the first inning off of BAL RHP Tyler Wilson. Cruz now leads the team with 21 HR and 56 RBI. 1B Adam Lind (.246 AVG) went 4-5 at the plate on the night with an RBI. Lind connected for a solo home run in the sixth inning of this one and now has 12 home runs, 35 RBI on the season. The story of the night was C Mike Zunino (.500 AVG) who made his 2016 MLB debut. Zunino is in the place of C Steve Clevenger who fractured his right hand in a game last week at PIT. Mike went 2-4 at the plate with 2 HR, 3 RBI. Zunino connected for a 2-run HR in the second inning and a solo HR in the sixth inning. His stats on the season- 2 HR and 3 RBI. Hopefully he keeps it on the right track!

On the mound on Saturday night, LHP James Paxton made his seventh start of the 2016 season. Paxton went 5.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 9 hits (3 earned runs) while walking 2 and striking out 2. Paxton earned himself the win and now has a W-L record of 2-3 on the season with an ERA of 4.24. Relieving Paxton were RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (9.93 ERA) and RHP Nathan Karns (4.50 ERA). Wilhelmsen earned himself his fourth hold of the season and Karns his first save. Karns went 3.0 innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits (1 HR, all runs earned) while striking out 2 O's in his outing. 

The Mariners, now seeking a 4-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and a 7-2 record for this home stand, will play series finale  baseball on Sunday afternoon, a 1:10 PM PAC, 7:10 PM ET start time. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-6, 4.57 ERA) and the M's will face BAL RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-7, 8.04 ERA). Be sure to catch all of the series finale action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle Radio!

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue

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