Each homered in the first inning, and each homered again later. That is far rarer than you might think, as we will explain in a moment. However, in the end it was Miller – who grew up in nearby Orlando – who got the win and the happy homecoming. Meanwhile, the Rays (66-51) suffered their sixth straight defeat.
“Good ball game,” acting manager Robby Thompson said. “Great ball game by Brad. … He swung the bat very well tonight, as most of the guys did.”
When Miller and then Zobrist each homered in the first inning, it marked the first American League game in which both teams have led off with a home run since Aug. 17, 2006 – when it happened twice on the same day.
When each homered again later, it marked only the third time in major league history that both leadoff hitters had multiple home runs in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Miller became the third player since 1969 to record his first four career home runs through a pair of two-home-run games.
Adding to the thrill for Miller was that it all played out in front of family and friends and what he said was every coach he’s had since he was 5 years old.
“It was awesome,” he said. “To go out there and get things going, finishing it off with a win: It was perfect, it was a lot of fun.”
If all that wasn’t enough, Miller revealed one more twist.
Mariners move to 55-63. It’s their second straight win overall and fifth of last six against the Rays.
Win to Ramirez (4-0). Save to Farquhar (5).
“He has been huge for us – obviously,” Thompson said of Farquhar. “… We went to him with the hot arm, and he has continued to do so. And we will continue to go to him in that inning right now. He has proven that he’s the guy right now, and we will stick with him.”
Dustin Ackley had three hits including the sixth-inning triple that brought home Justin Smoak with the winning run.
“He’s being a little more aggressive early in the count,” Thompson said. “He is fouling off some pitches and not leaving that third stike up to the umpire like he did earlier and even last year. It looks like he’s turned a corner, he’s gaining some confidence, and he’s swinging the bat real well right now.”
Ninth: Rodney pitching for Rays. Mariners go down 1-2-3. Farquhar on to try close.
Seventh: Peralta pitching for Rays. Saunders pinch runs for Ibanez and then stays in game in left. Two batters in (fly out, walk) Medina comes in for Mariners. Still Mariners, 5-4.
Sixth:Smoak single and Ackley triple puts Mariners up again, 5-4. In bottom half, after one out, Ramirez walks Escobar and is relieved by Oliver Perez.
Fifth inning: Brad Miller hits his second home run of the night and fourth of the season. Quite a homecoming. Mariners, 4-2. Zobrist then matches Miller again, this time with a tying two-run home run.
Fourth inning: The Mariners jump ahead 3-2 one consecutive hits by Ibanez, Morse (double), Smoak and Ackley.
Second and third inings: Quiet. Still, 2-1 Rays.
First inning: Brad Miller hits the third pitch of the game over the right-centerfield fence. (This is something of a homecoming for Miller, who grew up in Orlando, about 100 miles from here. He said before the game that family, friends and former coaches came to watch, and there was a second down the third-base line that cheered him.)
However, Tampa Bay leadoff hitter Ben Zobrist also led off with a homer, and after one, the Rays lead, 2-1.
It’s the first time both teams have opened with leadoff home runs since Aug. 17, 2006 … when it happened in two games.
Pregame: Here’s the starting lineup for today as the Mariners open a three-game series at Tampa Bay and a nine-game road trip that will also take them to Texas and Oakland.
Today’s first pitch is 4:10 p.m. and the game will be shown on Root.
Here’s some of what acting manager Robby Thompson had to say before the game:
On indoor baseball: Nothing like it. This place is different, it really is.
On the artificial turf impact on infielders: Not too much. You’ve still got the dirt. It plays a little bit different off the artificial, but that’s what pregame is for, and they’ll get their feet wet out here today.
On Ackley in center: We’re trying to see really what we have out there with Ackley in centerfield. We thnk we know what we have with Saunders in centerfield and the corners. There’s a chance we’ll have Gutti coming back, and where he’ll fit in and what have you. So we’re just trying to get Ack in there and also you’ve got Raul and you’ve got Morris and Saunders and Ackley will be splitting a little bit of time here and there. We just want to get a better feel throughout the rest of the season how Ack is in center, and not only center but also left field a little bit. … It’s kind of like when he transitioned to second base, he did a fine job. He started there for a year and a half or more and without much time being there, I think he’s comfortable in the outfield. He’s played in the outfield before. He’s comfortable when he goes over to first base, whether it be late in the game or what have you. Ack kind of has that kind of happy-go-lucky attitude and he don’t get too excited about a whole lot, and that kind of helps him. I think he’s doing a really good job out in centerfield. He’s learning on the job at the big-league level.
On playing a team in the heat of a pennant race: We’re going to be playing another team when we leave here, and from there we’ll be playing another. It’s kind of the rest of the way. And we’re trying to get back to .500 and see what we can do when we get there. So they have their goals, we have our goals: That’s just try to come out here and win as many games as we can no matter who we play. But yeah, this is a tough roadtrip. It’s a big test for us.
(And “I” in this case is Don Ruiz, filling in on this series for Ryan.)