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Monday, August 27, 2012 - Page updated at 09:00 p.m.
Despite sweep, Mariners continue hitting revival
By Bob Hurst
Special to The Seattle Times
CHICAGO — Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager swung a hot bat in Saturday's 5-4 loss at Chicago, going 2 for 4 with two home runs and four RBI. In his last 16 games going into Sunday's contest, Seager was hitting .286 with four homers and 10 RBI.
"He's playing every day, and when he's had his struggles he's hit his way through that, and he just keeps getting better," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He's a young hitter that, like all our young players, is going through a lot of firsts. He's handled it very well.
"It's obvious that this young man, if he keeps on his path, will be a very good big-league hitter."
Seager leads the team with 15 home runs and 73 RBI, with 51 runs driven in on the road. He's also batting .352 over his last 14 games at Safeco Field.
Another youngster, second baseman Dustin Ackley, has excelled recently, hitting .322 in his last 14 games entering Sunday's game, with two doubles, a home run and eight RBI. Ackley, who went through a 1 for 29 stretch last month, has raised his average from .220 on July 25 to .234. He has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games and has six multi-hit games.
"I think it's as good a stretch as he's had," Wedge said. "The different types of hits that he's had, different types of pitchers that he's faced, all those things matter to me. It's a single to left field, it's a double to left center, even the long outs that he had (Saturday), those are good indicators."
Ackley went 3 for 5 in Friday night's 9-8 loss, including a double to lead off the game, and scored two runs. He added two more hits on Saturday.
The Mariners are hitting .251 on the road, and .213 at home this season (through Saturday). They also ranked third in the American League, and fifth in the major leagues, with 302 runs scored on the road (4.72 per game).
Jesus Montero is another Mariner who has been hot on the road, going 28 for 68 for a .412 average with four homers and 15 RBI in his first 16 road games since the break.
At home, Seattle has scored 201 runs (3.19 runs per game), which ranks last in the majors. In their last 16 home games — 15 of which were wins — the Mariners scored 68 runs, an average of 4.25 per game.
Wedge believes it's only a matter of time before his team hits and scores more consistently at Safeco Field.
"Obviously we've been better offensively on the road this year," Wedge said. "I think we've gotten over some big hurdles at home and that we'll be a better hitting team at home.
"When all the dust settles and we get deeper into this next year and the year after, these guys keep developing, getting into their second and third year, we'll be very well balanced in that regard."
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