After uneven stretch, Mariners' bats start clicking

Seattle clubs four homers to rout A's and even series in Oakland

After uneven stretch, Mariners' bats start clicking

OAKLAND -- A Mariners team that has had trouble stringing together hits much of the season found a solution on Friday night, clubbing four two-run home runs in a 9-5 victory over the A's.

The Mariners had hit 57 of their first 81 homers this year with nobody on base, but they chose not to fly solo this time as Logan Morrison, Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller all delivered with a man on base.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners crush four homers to sink A's

Mariners crush four homers to sink A's

OAKLAND -- A quartet of two-run home runs from Logan Morrison, Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller carried the Mariners to a 9-5 victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Friday night.

The Mariners, who managed just two hits in Thursday's series-opening loss, tallied 13 this time, including nine in 6 1/3 innings against A's starter Jesse Chavez, who was responsible for Morrison and Smith's home runs that wiped away a three-run lead gained by the A's in the second against J.A. Happ -- highlighted by RBI hits from Mark Canha and Billy Burns. Canha also hit a two-run double in the ninth.

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Greg Johns and Jane Lee are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners option Wilhelmsen, Nuno and Elias

Iwakuma, Rollins expected to join Seattle's roster

Mariners option Wilhelmsen, Nuno and Elias

OAKLAND -- The Mariners did some major shuffling of their pitching staff after Friday's 9-5 win over the A's, optioning relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Vidal Nuno and starter Roenis Elias to Triple-A Tacoma.

No corresponding moves will be announced until Saturday, but the club figures to add left-handed reliever David Rollins as well as another reliever and possibly a temporary position player to fill out the 25-man roster.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bloomquist sees himself as a future coach

Veteran infielder believes he'll make return to baseball after retirement

Bloomquist sees himself as a future coach

OAKLAND -- When Edgar Martinez signed on as hitting coach of the Mariners two weeks ago, the questions started coming at Willie Bloomquist as well. Would he consider getting into coaching when his playing days ended?

"Yeah, I was getting that a lot recently. Maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall," Bloomquist said with a laugh.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix looks to continue dominance in Oakland

Felix looks to continue dominance in Oakland

Saturday's Fourth of July showdown between the A's and Mariners at 1:05 p.m. PT will be the only time in the four-game set Oakland doesn't have to face a left-hander.

Instead, the A's are up against Felix Hernandez.

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Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All-Star starters unveiled Sunday, full rosters Monday

Watch selection shows on ESPN; Final Vote to get underway Monday

All-Star starters unveiled Sunday, full rosters Monday

It was historic because it happened exclusively online. It was personal because it decided the fate of your favorite players. It was intense because you argued a lot. And it was teamwork because you helped shatter a Major League Baseball record.

After 65 consecutive days of relentless fan voting to determine starting positions players for the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the largest All-Star balloting program in sports closed at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners come up empty vs. A's Kazmir

Mariners come up empty vs. A's Kazmir

OAKLAND -- Scott Kazmir held the Mariners to two hits over eight innings, leading the A's to a 4-0 victory in Thursday night's opener of a four-game series at the Coliseum. It was Oakland's American League-leading 10th shutout of the season.

"That's probably the best we've seen him here," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "More cutters and sliders today, especially to right-handers. He had been basically fastball-changeup to them, where he worked everything to both righties and lefties today. Was on it from the very beginning, his velocity grew as the game went along."

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Greg Johns and Jane Lee are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taylor recalled to fill backup role with Mariners

Taylor recalled to fill backup role with Mariners

OAKLAND -- Chris Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday for his second stint with the Mariners this season, but this time the infielder from Virginia will be used more in a part-time role rather than replacing Brad Miller at shortstop.

Miller shifted to the outfield and more of a utility role when Taylor was called up in late May, but has since re-established himself at shortstop in the time since Taylor was demoted after hitting just .159 in 11 games.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bloomquist isn't ready to hang up spikes

Bloomquist isn't ready to hang up spikes

OAKLAND -- Willie Bloomquist has come full circle in his Major League days, returning the past two years to the Mariners club with whom he began his career in 2002. But the veteran utility man isn't ready to let it end that way after being designated for assignment by Seattle on Thursday to open a roster spot for young infielder Chris Taylor.

Bloomquist told MLB.com he's not ready to retire and hopes a spot opens for him on another team that has more of an opportunity for him to contribute in the final half of the season.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners agree to terms with int'l shortstop prospect Vargas

Sources say club and Dominican teen settled on $1.7 million signing bonus

Mariners agree to terms with int'l shortstop prospect Vargas

At 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, teenage shortstop Carlos Vargas is one of the biggest middle infielders on the international market this year.

Now, Vargas, ranked No. 26 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, is taking a huge step toward his future. The Mariners have agreed to a $1.7 million signing bonus with the teenage infielder from the Dominican Republic, according to industry sources.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz takes the cake with birthday blast

Slugger launches two-run shot vs. Padres on 35th birthday

Cruz takes the cake with birthday blast

SAN DIEGO -- Nelson Cruz didn't want to wait for the cake, so the Mariners slugger sliced his own gift -- a two-run homer in the top of the ninth -- in Seattle's 7-0 victory over the Padres in Wednesday's Interleague series finale at Petco Park.

Cruz cranked his 20th home run of the season on his 35th birthday to close out the day's scoring.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cano's big game, Walker shut down Padres

Cano's big game, Walker shut down Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Taijuan Walker and four relievers combined to shut out the Padres on three hits Wednesday as the Mariners took both games of the series at Petco Park with a 7-0 Interleague victory.

Walker threw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The 22-year-old is 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA with 51 strikeouts and three walks over his last seven starts. Seattle held the Padres to no runs and four hits over 18 innings in the two games and won the season series, 3-1.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker yields 1 hit in 6 scoreless innings

Youngster continues team's stellar pitching after Montgomery shut down Padres on Tuesday

Walker yields 1 hit in 6 scoreless innings

SAN DIEGO -- With Taijuan Walker cruising through six innings on just one hit with a 1-0 lead, manager Lloyd McClendon chose to lift the 22-year-old for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh in what turned into a 7-0 victory for the Mariners over the Padres.

McClendon had just made a quick trip to the mound with trainer Rob Nodine with two out in the sixth to check on Walker, but he said that had no bearing on his decision for the surprising early hook with the right-hander at just 76 pitches.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners facing decision on Iwakuma's return

Fill-in Montgomery has been stellar with back-to-back shutouts

Mariners facing decision on Iwakuma's return

SAN DIEGO -- With Hisashi Iwakuma completing his third Minor League rehab start on Tuesday in Tacoma, the Mariners have a decision looming.

Iwakuma is lined up to return on Sunday in Oakland if he continues pitching on a normal five-day plan, a move that would have made sense initially since that spot in Seattle's rotation is currently held by rookie Mike Montgomery.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montgomery one-hits Padres for shutout feat

Montgomery one-hits Padres for shutout feat

SAN DIEGO -- Mike Montgomery didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning on Tuesday and finished with a shutout as the Mariners topped the Padres, 5-0, at Petco Park.

Montgomery, coming off a five-hit shutout of the Royals the last time out, allowed his only hit with one out in the seventh as Yangervis Solarte doubled. Montgomery walked four, hit a batter and struck out seven. He became the 12th Major League rookie to throw consecutive shutouts since 1980 and first since Jeremy Sowers of the Indians in 2006.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fill-in Montgomery now part of Seattle history

Lefty joins Unit, Garcia, Langston as Mariners pitchers to throw back-to-back shutouts

Fill-in Montgomery now part of Seattle history

SAN DIEGO -- Since being called up four weeks ago to fill in for the injured James Paxton, rookie southpaw Mike Montgomery has opened eyes for the Mariners. But the 25-year-old took it to another level on Tuesday as he allowed just one hit and threw his second straight shutout, this one a 5-0 blanking of the Padres at Petco Park.

Montgomery maneuvered through 6 1/3 innings with three walks and a hit batter before Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte doubled down the left-field line. But that was all the damage San Diego could muster as Montgomery became the first Mariner to throw a one-hit shutout since Jarrod Washburn in 2009.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackson swats his first home run of the year

Mariners' No. 1 prospect is batting .282 in 11 games for Class A Short Season Everett

Jackson swats his first home run of the year

The Mariners' No. 1 prospect finally broke through on Tuesday night.

That'd be Alex Jackson, the highly touted outfielder who is baseball's No. 22 overall prospect. Playing for Class A Short Season Everett, he connected on his first homer of the year, a two-run shot that provided the winning margin in the AquaSox's 5-3 win over Boise.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith answering closing bell for Mariners

Smith answering closing bell for Mariners

ANAHEIM -- Carson Smith hasn't been officially proclaimed the Mariners' new closer. Or temporary closer. Or anything else. When the phone rings in the bullpen, he waits for his name to be called, just like always.

But for the past three weeks, those calls have been coming in ninth-inning save situations, and the 25-year-old rookie has relished the chance to be Seattle's stopper after Fernando Rodney's early-season struggles

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix's one-hit gem cut short by cramps

Felix's one-hit gem cut short by cramps

ANAHEIM -- Felix Hernandez plays with emotion. But on Sunday, one reaction to a big double-play groundout by Mike Trout turned into something of a pain in the neck. Or side, to be more accurate.

Hernandez was battling his way through a 90-degree afternoon with a 1-0 lead against the Angels, having allowed just one hit, when he got Trout on a key twin killing in the sixth. But his pained reaction following that play led to manager Lloyd McClendon and trainer Rob Nodine hustling out to the mound.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners fall to Angels on wild pitch in 10th

Mariners fall to Angels on wild pitch in 10th

ANAHEIM -- With the Mariners on the verge of getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th inning on Sunday, reliever Tom Wilhelmsen threw a wild pitch that let Kole Calhoun race home with the winning run, giving the Angels a 3-2 walk-off win in the rubber game at Angel Stadium.

Johnny Giavotella and Calhoun led off the 10th with back-to-back singles, and Mike Trout was intentionally walked to load the bases for Albert Pujols. With the Mariners playing a six-man infield, Pujols hit into a double play -- shortstop to home to first. Wilhelmsen got two strikes on Kyle Kubitza, but bounced a pitch past catcher Mike Zunino, and Calhoun scored without a play.

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Greg Johns is a reporter and David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cano returns day after ball hits him in head

Cano returns day after ball hits him in head

ANAHEIM -- Robinson Cano emerged unscathed from Saturday's incident in which he got hit in the temple with an errant warmup throw by Angels shortstop Taylor Featherston while sitting in the dugout between innings, but the Mariners knew they dodged a bullet.

"It was an inch and a half away from his eye," said manager Lloyd McClendon, who had Cano back at second base for Sunday's series finale. "That could be career-ending. The thought is scary. You take things for granted in this game, but anything can happen at any time. We were very fortunate in this instance."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zunino benefiting from Edgar's tutelage

Zunino benefiting from Edgar's tutelage

ANAHEIM -- Mike Zunino isn't going to turn his season around in one week, but the Mariners' catcher is feeling better at the plate in recent days as his work with new hitting coach Edgar Martinez seems to be paying dividends.

Zunino went 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Angels and has hit .357 (5-for-14) with a walk and just one strikeout in 16 plate appearances over his past four games going into Sunday's series finale against the Halos.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happ's run of hard luck continues

Happ's run of hard luck continues

ANAHEIM -- J.A. Happ wasn't perfect in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Angels, but the Mariners' veteran lefty seemingly deserves a better fate than four straight losses and six weeks since his last victory.

Happ has posted a 3.87 ERA and been a steady presence on the mound in his first season with Seattle, but after a 3-1 start, he's now fallen to 3-5 and frustration is mounting.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happ, Mariners drop duel vs. Angels

Happ, Mariners drop duel vs. Angels

ANAHEIM -- Garrett Richards allowed just two runs over 7 2/3 innings on Saturday as the Angels topped the Mariners, 4-2, with help from Kole Calhoun's two-run homer at Angel Stadium.

Richards (8-5, 3.54 ERA) gave up seven hits but limited the damage to a pair of runs and is now 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in seven career starts against Seattle. He struck out six and helped the Angels move back above .500 at 38-37.

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Greg Johns is a reporter and David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rodney ready for any role Mariners need

Rodney ready for any role Mariners need

ANAHEIM -- Fernando Rodney got to shoot his arrow on Friday night, delivering a scoreless ninth inning in the Mariners' 3-1 victory over the Angels in his first save situation since losing the closer's job 24 days earlier.

But the man who led the Majors with 45 saves last season and is second to Craig Kimbrel for the most saves in the big leagues since 2012 hasn't won back the role yet, as manager Lloyd McClendon went to right-hander Carson Smith in the eighth inning Friday strictly because he wanted the big rookie facing Angels standouts Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker's moxie impresses McClendon

Walker's moxie impresses McClendon

ANAHEIM -- For young Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, this has clearly been the tale of two seasons. And the Mariners like the second one a whole lot better.

The hard-throwing 22-year-old continued his recent surge with seven innings of one-run ball in Seattle's 3-1 win over the Angels on Friday, continuing the reversal from his early-season woes to even his record at 6-6 with a 4.64 ERA.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker's gem lifts Mariners at Angel Stadium

Walker's gem lifts Mariners at Angel Stadium

ANAHEIM -- Taijuan Walker pitched seven innings of one-run ball and the Mariners' scuffling offense did just enough against the Angels' Matt Shoemaker to capture a 3-1 win at Angel Stadium on Friday night.

Walker scattered seven hits, but didn't walk any batters and struck out six. The 22-year-old right-hander has given up just nine runs in 34 1/3 innings this month, dropping his ERA from 6.18 to 4.64.

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Alden Gonzalez and Greg Johns are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.