Encarnacion HRs twice in 6th, Mariners roll over Royals 13-5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Edwin Encarnacion and the Seattle Mariners are off to a slugging start unlike any team in major league history.
Encarnacion homered twice during an eight-run sixth inning, two of five homers for the hot-hitting Mariners during a 13-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
Seattle has 32 homers over its first 12 games, the most ever by a team a dozen games into the season. The St. Louis Cardinals had 31 in 2000, according to STATS. The Mariners have scored at least five runs 11 times already.
“What an offensive roll we’re on right now,” manager Scott Servais said. “Guys just don’t let up. The consistency up and down the lineup, it’s contagious. They guys have all bought in.”
Encarnacion is the first Mariner to homer twice in an inning since Bret Boone and Mike Cameron both did it May 2, 2002 against the White Sox. Cameron tied a major league record with four homers in that game. The last player with a multihomer inning was Mark Trumbo of the Angels on April 15, 2016 at Texas.
It’s the second time in his career that Encarnacion has homered twice in an inning, also accomplishing it on July 26, 2013 with Toronto. He’s the fifth player to homer twice in an inning more than once, joining Alex Rodriguez, Jeff King, Andre Dawson and Willie McCovey, per STATS.
“When (Encarnacion) hits it, it just sounds different,” said Daniel Vogelbach, who led off the second with Seattle’s first homer. “He’s done it for a long time, and he does it every single year. I think I’ve seen most of them against us. It’s a lot better to see them when he hits them for us.”
The Mariners improved to 10-2, the first team in the majors with double-digit victories.
Roenis Elias (1-0) pitched three scoreless, hitless innings in relief, helping Seattle cover when Felix Hernandez left after one inning with an illness. Not exactly a welcome present for Hernandez’s 33rd birthday.
“It started last night,” he said. “I woke up this morning throwing up, and I threw up like 14 times. I just tried to go out there. With the way our hitters are swinging the bats, I thought I had a good chance to get a win.”
Homer Bailey (0-1) allowed seven runs in five-plus innings.
“I thought he threw better than his line,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “He had seven punchouts. The sixth inning kind of unraveled on him there a little bit. We were hoping we could get him through the sixth inning. First-pitch homer, then the walk, then a double. Just still continuing to get burned on a couple of fastballs up.”
Whit Merrifield led off the first inning with an infield single, extending his hitting streak to 29 games dating to last season. Merrifield’s streak is one shy of George Brett’s club record, set when he hit .390 in 1980.
The Mariners homered for a 12th straight game, a club record. They became the fourth AL team to do that since 1908.
Jay Bruce and Dylan Moore also went deep for Seattle.
Mariners: INF Tim Beckham was held out of the starting lineup with tightness in his right hamstring. He tweaked it in the Mariners’ 12-5 victory over the White Sox on Sunday. Manager Scott Servais said Beckham was available in case of emergency, but starting him wasn’t worth the risk. ... RHP Shawn Armstrong is on the 10-day IL with a right oblique strain. He is eligible to return, but Servais said he’s not quite ready.
Royals RHP Glenn Sparkman was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. RHP Kyle Zimmer was optioned to Omaha. Sparkman provides length in the Royals bullpen, and may get a start Wednesday if he is not called on Monday or Tuesday. Zimmer, the Royals first-round pick in 2012 (fifth overall) battled injuries throughout his minor league career before debuted March 30. He has a 9.00 ERA (two runs in two innings) in three appearances.
Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales (3-0, 2.30 ERA) will get the start for the Mariners in the second game of the four-game series.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (1-0, 4.63) will start for the Royals.