Mike Zunino earned his Gatorade bath on Wednesday night (June 7), hitting a 437-foot homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to win it for the Seattle Mariners. Zunino came to bat against Minnesota Twins closer Brandon Kintzler with the Mariners trailing 5-4. One batter earlier, outfielder Ben Gamel had connected on a two-out single, putting the tying run on first base. Zunino then deposited a ball deep over the right-center wall to win the game 6-5.
Zunino also had a home run in the third inning off starting pitcher Abalberto Mejia, but no hit on this night was bigger than the one Zunino notched to end the game. The Seattle Mariners have now won five-straight games and have pulled up to a 30-30 record on the season. The team refused to give up on this game, despite trailing the Twins 5-2 in the fifth inning. The team chipped away at the deficit until Mike Zunino came to the plate and ended it.
Carlos Ruiz (1) and Kyle Seager (7) also connected on solo home runs to aid the offense, which only mustered five hits on the night. It was just enough to save Yovani Gallardo from losing the game and Edwin Diaz ended up getting his second win of the season. Having Zunino and Ruiz in the lineup at the same time turned out to be a brilliant move by Mariners manager Scott Servais, who has helped steer this team into an impressive winning streak.
BALL. GAME. Mike Zunino BLASTS a two-run home run and the MARINERS WIN 6-5! pic.twitter.com/mVk24gxCdA
— Mariners (@Mariners) June 8, 2017
Over the last eight games for Mike Zunino, he has gone 14-for-30 at the plate with a 0.467 batting average. He also has six extra-base hits, six runs scored, and 14 RBIs as the starting catcher for the Seattle Mariners. Those are amazing numbers and what fans had been hoping to see from Zunino for several years now. It appears that working with hitting coach Edgar Martinez is beginning to pay huge dividends, as Zunino looks extremely comfortable at the plate and has been swinging a very hot bat.
The Mariners have now won the first two games of this series against the Minnesota Twins and they have a chance to sweep them on Thursday afternoon (June 8). Christian Bergman (3-2, 4.36 ERA) will be on the mound for the Mariners against Kyle Gibson (2-4, 7.23 ERA) of the Twins. This appears to be a chance for the Mariners offense to pile up the runs again, even as the team tries to succeed without the injured Nelson Cruz and Jean Segura on the field. Segura was busy earlier in the day on Wednesday as he was signed to a long-term contract extension.
ICYMI, watch the whole @Jeansegura02 news conference now.
— Mariners (@Mariners) June 7, 2017
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Jean Segura inked a five-year extension worth $70 million. It also has a team option on the end of it worth $17 million that could extend the deal for another season. The deal is a good one for both sides, giving Segura a huge pay raise and locking up a full-time shortstop for the Mariners. Now Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Jean Segura all have long-term contracts in place that will keep them as the core of the Mariners for many years to come.
— SafecoField (@SafecoField) June 8, 2017
In the updated MLB standings, the Seattle Mariners are two-and-a-half games behind the Baltimore Orioles (31-26) for the second Wild Card spot and only three games behind the Boston Red Sox (32-26) for that first Wild Card spot in the American League. The Mariners are also second place in the AL West, as the victory helped break a tie with the Los Angeles Angels (30-32) within the division. Winners in nine of their last 10 games, the Mariners will look to continue that winning streak on Thursday and Mike Zunino will likely be in the lineup again.
[Featured Image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]