Seth Smith despises being part of any headline.
No player in the Seattle Mariners clubhouse is more soft-spoken than Smith, who came over to the club in a 2014 trade for reliever Brandon Maurer.
Home runs? Nah, they are just good hits, the Mississippi native says.
Power-hitting streaks? Just part of baseball, Smith adds.
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Smith homered for a career-best fourth consecutive game, and the Mariners belted AL East-leading Baltimore, 9-4, in front of 31,405 at Safeco Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Mariners didn’t just hit home runs over the past four days, although 10 is a pretty big number. They added 13 doubles and their 23 extra-base hits was one short of the team record in a four-game series, set in 1987 against the California Angels.
“I don’t consider us just a team that is out there trying to slug (homers),” Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager said. “If you look at the at-bats … a lot of doubles, and we got our fair share of walks.
“It has been a pretty good approach, and it has been pretty professional, from top to bottom.”
But Smith’s first career grand slam was the fuel in another convincing victory over a playoff contender.
After Chris Iannetta walked, and Ketel Marte and Leonys Martin followed with back-to-back singles, Smith came up with no outs in the third inning.
But he got down 0-2 quickly to Baltimore right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8).
“I was just trying to be aggressive in the (strike) zone, and realize they can throw whatever at 0-2,” Smith said. “(A good pitch) just showed up, and I was able to get the barrel to it.”
Smith walloped the no-doubt homer deep into the stands in right center for his 10th home run of the season, giving the Mariners a 4-0 lead.
Afterward with reporters, he was jokingly asked if he was making a late bid to get on the American League home run derby squad for the All-Star Game.
The question almost seemed to make him uncomfortable.
“No,” he said. “I have no interest in that.”
Smith isn’t one to really enjoy talking about himself, even after good performances.
“He should, yeah, that is pretty impressive,” Seager said. “He is great. He always puts together a professional at-bat, but over the course of the season, you get hot and you get going. It has been a lot of fun for us to jump on his back.”
Even after Baltimore cut it to 4-3 a half-inning later, started by Mark Trumbo’s league-leading 24th home run, the Mariners kept at it.
Marte’s double down the right-field line scored Franklin Gutierrez and Iannetta took third base on Trumbo’s fielding error, and later scored on a balk by Jimenez with two outs in the fourth inning.
Seattle scored three more times in the seventh on four consecutive hits — the last three on doubles by Nelson Cruz, Seager (2 RBIs) and Adam Lind (RBI) off reliever Ariel Miranda to give the Mariners a 9-4 lead.
Those are the kinds of innings that manager Scott Servais prefers to hang his hat on.
“I don’t want to get caught up in the home runs,” Servais said. “Staying on the ball … those are the kind of at-bats you need to see. They don’t always go out of the park.”
Seattle swept a four-game series for the first time since 2012 when it defeated Kansas City (July 26-29).
The Mariners also went 7-2 in this homestand, and now go to Houston and Kansas City for the final seven games before the All-Star break.
“It is a long season,” Servais said. “A lot of people, with the ups and downs of our season, had kind of written us off a little bit. It is OK, there is a lot of ball left to play.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: Smith has an unprecedented streak of power-hitting going. He not only homered for a fourth consecutive game for the first time in his career — he also hit his first grand slam as well. It came on an 0-2 pitch from Jimenez in the third inning to give the Mariners a 4-0 lead.
PLUS: Seattle outslugged the AL’s top home-run hitting squad, 10-4, over the four games. … The Mariners had six more extra-base hits Sunday, totaling 23 for the four-game series — one short of the team record.
MINUS: Typically sure-handed Leonys Martin had three shaky plays in center field. Only one was ruled an error on a fielding miscue in the fourth inning. He also lost a fly ball in the sun in the sixth inning that was ruled a double.
STAT PACK: It was the first time the Mariners have swept the Orioles in a four-game series since 2000.… With his leadoff double in the fifth inning, Robinson Cano notched ninth hit in 17 at-bats off Jimenez for career (.529). … Over his past 13 games, Smith has 12 RBIs. … The Mariners are now 7-0 at home against the AL East this season.
SHORT HOPS: Hard-throwing reliever Edwin Diaz tied a Mariners record originally set by Randy Johnson (1997) by recording 10 consecutive outs by strikeout. ... Shawn O’Malley, who injured his ankle Saturday on a foul tip, came in as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, but struck out. ... As it is unveiled during every home game, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.’s countdown to Cooperstown is now 21 days away beginning Monday.