Home run numbers inconsistent, but climbing

Home run numbers inconsistent, but climbing

CHICAGO -- When Trayvon Robinson and Jesus Montero hit home runs in Friday's 9-8 loss, it increased the Mariners' season total to 111 long balls. The significance?

That's two more than Seattle hit during the entire 2011 season. With 36 games remaining, the Mariners are on pace for 143 home runs, which would be their fourth-highest total in the past 10 years.

They're on pace for 93 road homers, which would be their most away from Safeco Field since 2000, when they hit 106.

The Mariners still rank 12th of 14 American League teams in home runs, but they're definitely taking a step up from the previous few years even without a dominant slugger in the middle of their lineup.

Going into Saturday night's game with the White Sox, three players -- Montero, Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak -- were tied for the team lead with 14 home runs. Kyle Seager then hit two homers in Friday's 5-4 loss to claim the top spot with 15 homers.

"We've seen it most of the year, albeit it inconsistent," manager Eric Wedge said of the team's increased power potential. "It's nowhere near as good as it's going to get, but you're seeing more consistency with the long ball, with better ABs, with hard balls that are being hit. We scored six runs in the top of the ninth last night, that's not easy to do up here against a first-place club."