Stuck in a stretch of facing mostly left-handed pitching, Adam Lind has found himself as a spectator far more than he would prefer.
Even with just a handful of at-bats over the past couple of weeks, Lind showed he can still provide pop when given the chance.
Lind hit the fourth grand slam of his career as part of Seattle's five-run first inning, added a solo home run in his next at-bat and led the Mariners to an 8-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
Lind's 19th and 20th homers of the season helped Seattle jump to an 8-0 lead and kept the Mariners on the fringe of the AL wild card race, five games behind Baltimore. It was the 12th career multi-homer game of Lind's career and his second this season.
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"He has the ability to do that. We've seen it in patches through the course of the year. He just hasn't put together a normal Adam Lind year," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "But you look up at the end of it he's still got 20 homers, he's had some games like this where he can really carry you. He just hasn't been that consistent."
Opportunities have been limited for Lind as part of a platoon at first base. It's an unfortunate run that has left Lind and Seth Smith coming off the bench during a stretch of facing left-handed starting pitching.
Lind had just 12 plate appearances over the past 10 games coming into Wednesday's game.
"This is definitely the division with the most lefties, Texas and Anaheim of late," Lind said. "I played in the NL Central last year and it was predominantly a right-handed pitching division. It's just how it goes."
The homers from Lind were plenty for starter Ariel Miranda in his strongest performance since joining the Mariners.
Miranda (3-1) allowed one hit and two baserunners through five innings and was nearly untouched through six before an error kept the sixth inning alive and was capped by Carlos Beltran's three-run homer.
Miranda faced one batter in the seventh before being pulled. He won his second straight start, striking out four and walking three. Texas saw its streak snapped of eight straight games scoring at least six runs.
"Up until now (this) has been my best start of the year," Miranda said through an interpreter.
Seattle was already up 1-0 on Texas starter A.J. Griffin after Smith's leadoff double and Ketel Marte's single. Base hits by Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager loaded the bases for Lind. Griffin left a fastball elevated over the plate and Lind drove it to deep center field to give Seattle a 5-0 lead.
Lind's opposite-field home run to left in the third gave Seattle a 7-0 lead and Smith's 13th homer of the season in the fourth pushed the lead to 8-0.
Griffin (7-4) lasted four innings, giving up seven hits and all eight runs. Griffin had won his previous two decisions and the four innings was his second-shortest outing of the season.
"The fastball was flat and when he tried to go in, he missed out over the plate and when he was behind in the count, he wasn't able to land the off-speed pitch that he can normally drop in there for a strike," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "The first (inning) was a big challenge and giving up the grand slam was probably his big blow."
At the Top
Batting leadoff for the second time this season, Smith was on base four times and scored three runs. He finished a triple short of the cycle.
Banister said Colby Lewis will return to the Rangers rotation this weekend and is scheduled to start on Sunday against the Angels. Lewis has been out since June 21 with a strained muscle in his right shoulder. Before going on the DL, Lewis was 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts. Lewis' return will give the Rangers six pitchers in their rotation for the final few weeks.
Rangers: Derek Holland (7-6) will start the series finale. Holland is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts since coming off the DL on Aug. 23.
Mariners: Taijuan Walker (4-10) looks to rebound from the shortest start of his career. Walker gave up five earned runs and six hits and recorded just two outs in a loss to the Angels. He's 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA in his last three starts.