Morse’s homer ends drought

Staff writerApril 29, 2013 

SEATTLE – Michael Morse was pretty certain he hit the ball well enough to be a home run, something the Mariners sorely needed. When it cleared the wall, he let out a scream and violently pumped his fist.

The seventh inning homer off of Jason Vargas proved to be the difference in a 2-1 come-from-behind win for the Mariners.

But was Morse’s emotional outburst a celebration or a reaction to snapping a homerless streak that extended all the way back to April 9th?

No, he said, this was about the team.

“We wanted to win this series badly,” Morse said. “We’ve been fighting. This was a tough game. It was a pitchers’ game. And we are going to have a lot of these one-run games, so to come out on top like that means a lot.”

Morse’s power bat certainly had been quiet. In his prior 56 plate appearances, he had not produced a home run.

The drought could be traced largely to the broken pinky on his right hand that caused him to miss four games. Morse had been downplaying it but finally admitted it was an issue.

“Early on I was thinking about it and it was affecting my play, but now I’m not thinking about it,” Morse said. “There are more guys in this clubhouse that going through more aches and pains every day than me with a little pinky.”

HULTZEN OPTIMISTIC

Danny Hultzen was in the Mariners’ clubhouse at Safeco Field wrapping up a rehab session on his strained left rotator cuff. He wished he was there for a better reason.

“No, this kind of sucks,” he said. “I’ll be good in a couple weeks and ready to go.”

Besides the strain, Hultzen is battling tendinitis in that arm.

“They said it’s not worrisome; that was their phrasing,” Hultzen said. “This is the first time I’ve had to lose a significant time from throwing.”

Hultzen said he felt a little stiff when he started preparing for his start with the Tacoma Rainiers on Thursday in Las Vegas. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard noticed that Hultzen didn’t look right.

“He asked if it was bothering me because it looked like it was,” Hultzen said. “I didn’t really want to say anything, but he shut it down and now I’m here.”

Hultzen didn’t put up a fight. He knew better than to push it.

“Good for him for being honest and being smart about it,” said Mariners manager Wedge said. “You feel something or something doesn’t feel right, you have to be careful.”

SHORT HOPS

The last time the Mariners won a four-game home series against the Angels was in June 2003. … Kyle Seager went 0-for-4 and saw his career-high 16-game hitting streak snapped. Meanwhile, Dustin Ackley extended his hitting streak to nine games. ... The talented trio of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton combined to go 8-for-47 (.170 batting average) in the series. Hamilton is really struggling this season. He is hitting just .219 (21-for-96) with a .267 on-base percentage and a .323 slugging percentage. He has just five extra-base hits, and has struck out 29 times with just five walks. ... Michael Saunders will likely be activated off the disabled list today, which could send Carlos Peguero back to Triple-A Tacoma.

ON TAP

The Mariners open a three-game series with Baltimore Orioles today at Safeco Field. Left-hander Joe Saunders (1-3, 6.33 ERA) will get the start for Seattle, while Baltimore will go with left-hander Zach Britton, who will be making his first appearance of the season. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.

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