Mariners turn the page after successful June

Mariners turn the page after successful June

HOUSTON -- After entering June a game under .500 at 27-28, the Mariners put together the second-best record in the American League in the just-completed month and turned the calendar to July with a 45-38 record and rising hopes of a legitimate postseason run in the second half.

Seattle finished June with an 18-10 record, with their .643 winning percentage second only to division-rival Oakland (17-9, .654) among AL teams. After a 16-14 May, it's the Mariners first back-to-back months with a winning record since July-August of 2012.

The Mariners had the best run differential in the Majors in June at plus-47, which lands them second to the A's in the Majors at plus-56 for the season going into Tuesday's games. The Dodgers are third in those rankings and the Angels fourth, putting three AL West teams among the top four in MLB.

Pitching clearly was the biggest factor for Seattle in June as the Mariners led the Majors with a 2.53 ERA, breaking their club record for the best month in franchise history of 2.80 in July, 1991. The bullpen also set a monthly club record of 1.64, topping the old mark of 1.88 in June, 2012.

Felix Hernandez led the rotation with a 3-1 record, 1.22 ERA and 26 hits, six walks and 54 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings over six starts, while Fernando Rodney had nine saves, Joe Beimel didn't allow a run in 11 relief appearances and Yoervis Medina did the same in nine outings.

But the offense also was improved, with the Mariners hitting .262 with 29 home runs in June after batting .232 with 43 home runs in the months of April and May combined.

Kyle Seager hit .309 with four home runs, 22 RBIs and a .536 slugging percentage to lead the way and Robinson Cano batting .307 with four homers, 17 RBIs and a .485 slugging percent. But the surprising boost came from shortstop Brad Miller, who emerged from a two-month struggle to hit .298 with five homers, 12 RBIs and a .512 slugging percentage.

Greg Johns is a reporter for 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.