Ibanez belts home runs as Mariners rout the Angels


SEATTLE — Some decent pitching finally accompanied the latest offensive barrage by the Mariners and the result was an increasingly rare home win.

The Mariners had dropped seven of their last nine at Safeco Field before Raul Ibanez and friends turned on the power Friday night and knocked their opponents’ lights out. Ibanez had two of Seattle’s four home runs and added a run-scoring double in an 8-3 rout of the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

Kyle Seager’s solo shot in the second inning helped the Mariners set a franchise record by going deep in their 20th consecutive game. Ibanez then ignited a four-run fourth inning with his 23rd home run of the season — a 438-foot blast into the Hit it Here Cafè in right field — before adding his 24th in the seventh inning to move just five behind Ted Williams for the most ever hit by a player in his age 41 season.

Kendrys Morales added a solo homer in the seventh for the final Seattle longball of the night.

Mariners starter Joe Saunders gave his team some needed mound support, keeping the Angels in-check for seven scoreless innings. The Angels didn’t score until the eighth inning, when they got three off the bullpen, but by then it was far too late.

A crowd of 21,372 at Safeco Field saw Seattle grab a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning to chase Angels starter Jerome Williams from the contest. The Mariners, meanwhile, had Saunders survive a second-inning jam and go seven scoreless frames to help his team snap its three-game losing skid.

The Mariners have averaged six runs per game in July after entering the month scoring just 3.62 per contest. Seattle’s offensive upsurge has been particularly noticeable this homestand, with 38 runs scored the first five games.

But the Mariners had dropped three of those contests after their starting pitchers got rocked and twice blew early leads of 5-1 against the Boston Red Sox. Ibanez had given Saunders a 1-0 lead in the first inning with his run-scoring double, but then the Angels got a pair of back-to-back doubles in the second inning that threatened to tie the score.

The second of those, by Alberto Callaspo, was a bloop hit to right that forced runner Mark Trumbo to hold up between second and third to make sure the ball dropped in.

By the time it did, the slow-moving Trumbo had to halt at third and Saunders then escaped the inning with a pair of strikeouts.

That was pretty much the game right there as Seager took Williams deep in the bottom of the inning and the Angels never got close again.

The Mariners entered the night tied for third in the American League with 109 home runs, led by Ibanez and his season for the ages and aged.

Ibanez had already been seen as somewhat of a late bloomer, but is taking that to ridiculous power extremes. He has hit 34 home runs since turning 40 on June 2, 2012, but had clubbed just 28 home runs in 371 games before his 30th birthday.

He has 11 home runs his last 18 games and 23 over his last 53 games dating to May 10 in New York.

The Mariners were cruising with an 8-0 lead when Saunders finally left the game after seven innings. That’s when the Angels finally got on the board, with Mike Trout hitting a run-scoring triple off Danny Farquhar and then coming home himself on an Albert Pujols single

Lucas Luetge came on to pitch, but yielded a double to Josh Hamilton that put runners on second and third with one out. That got right-hander Yoervis Medina into the game and Trumbo hit a run-scoring ground out off him that brought the third Angels’ run home.

But Medina got a fly ball out to end the threat before things got more serious.

NOTES

• The Mariners optioned starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez to Class A Everett on Friday so he could continue pitching throughout the All-Star Break on regular rest. Blake Beavan was optioned to AAA, where he’ll join the Tacoma starting rotation. Left-handed relief pitcher Bobby Lafromoise and right-hander Hector Noesi were called up from Class AAA as replacements.

• Ibanez was nominated for the Branch Rickey Award on Friday, recognizing a player, coach or executive for “contributions to the community or their status as a role model.” Ibanez was one of the co-chairs of this year’s Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis Golf Tournament, which raised $220,000.