The Seattle Mariners gave Taijuan Walker plenty of run support in his 2014 debut. Walker went six innings, the Mariners hit four home runs, and the team beat up on the Houston Astros 10-4 on Monday night (June 30). The Game 1 box score is pretty impressive for the team, despite still having 10 strikeouts on the night. They had 10 runs on 11 hits, with four of those hits coming from James Jones alone.
Jones was 4-for-5 from the plate with three stolen bases and two runs scored. He was a huge catalyst for the team, working to distract the Astros pitchers every time he got on base. He was able to raise his batting average to .289 on the season and he leads all rookies with 17 stolen bases now. This was probably his best game at the plate this season and it really showed how dangerous he can be to opposing teams.
As for the home runs, Mike Zunino, Michael Saunders, Brad Miller, and Robinson Cano all hit one on the night. It was No. 12 on the season for Zunino, who now leads all American League catchers in home runs. Miller hit his eighth of the season, Saunders had his fifth, and it was the sixth for Cano. Cano and Zunino each had three RBIs as well, showing why both players might deserve a spot on the All-Star team this year.
In the updated 2014 MLB standings, the Mariners now boast a 45-38 record that keeps them in the second wild card slot. They trail the Los Angeles Angels (45-35) for that first wild card slot and are now 6 1/2 games behind the Oakland Athletics for first place in the AL West. The team has won eight of its last 10 games and is starting to stake a strong position when it comes to qualifying for the postseason.
The Mariners will send Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday (July 1), with the intent to win this series in the first two games along. It's important for the team to put up wins against sub .500 opponents like the Astros, especially as the All-Star Game approaches. Game 3 of the series will be on Wednesday (July 2), with Chris Young taking the mound.