Saunders’ HR puts club-record streak at 22 in row

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comJuly 15, 2013 

SEATTLE — Back on June 20, Kyle Seager sent a Tommy Hanson pitch 105 mph off his bat for a home run at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. It was the start of a historical run.

Fast-forward to Sunday, in which Michael Saunders’ homer in the second inning home run gave the Mariners a home run in 22 consecutive games, extending the club record.

It’s the ninth-longest streak in major league history.

During the run, nine Mariners have produced 35 home runs. Not surprisingly, Raul Ibañez has provided the bulk of the power with 10 home runs during the stretch. The unlikeliest homer came when light-hitting Brendan Ryan kept the streak alive with Seattle’s only homer July 10 against Boston in the eighth inning off Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman. It was Ryan’s 18th career homer.

Kyle Seager, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games Sunday, has seven homers during that run.

Kendrys Morales has six homers during that time. Justin Smoak, who is in the midst of a two-month uptick, hit four. Jason Bay has three, Michael Saunders two, and Franklin Gutierrez has one.

The Mariners are tied for second in the majors with Toronto at 115 homers. They trail only Baltimore (132) at the All-Star break.

Of those 115, 54 homers have come at Safeco Field and 61 on the road.

The Texas Rangers hit a home run in 27 consecutive games in 2002 to set the league record.

INJURIES UPDATE

Reliever Stephen Pryor (torn side muscle) will pitch in a rehab outing with Single-A Everett either Tuesday or Wednesday. If all goes well, he will then join the Tacoma Rainiers.

Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring) will work out over the All-Star break, then be sent to Tacoma for another rehab assignment. Manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez’s absence — he has played in just 18 games this season — is “no doubt the biggest loss for us.”

Michael Morse (thigh) will remain in Seattle as he is not ready for rehab work.

WALKER SHINES AT FUTURES

Rainiers starter Taijuan Walker pitched an inning, which included 97 mph fastballs, for the U.S. in a win over the World team, 4-2, at the MLB Futures Game at Citi Field in New York. Walker forced two groundouts, a flyout and allowed a walk.

ON TAP

The All-Star break, in which Mariners Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma were named to the AL team for the All-Star Game. Only Hernandez might get a chance to pitch because Iwakuma will not be available after starting against the Angels. Iwakuma was replaced Sunday by Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland. Seattle returns Friday at the Houston Astros at 5:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 1030-AM and 710-AM.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners

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