The Seattle Mariners set a new MLB record on Thursday night, as Dee Gordon’s sixth-inning home run made them the first team ever to hit homers in its first 15 games to start a season.
The blast helped Seattle to a 7-6 victory in extra innings over the Kansas City Royals, as the Mariners pushed their league best record to 13-2 on the season.
Unlikely Contributor Adds to Streak
Previously, the home run record had belonged to the 2002 Cleveland Indians, who hit at least one ball out of the park in each of their first 14 games.
The biggest surprise about the continuation of Seattle’s streak is how it happened. Gordon isn’t exactly known for his power: he has never hit more than four home runs in a single season, and has only socked 16 dingers over the course of a nine-year career.
That’s why Gordon made sure to point out that it wasn’t just his fluke blast that kept the streak alive. In the 10th inning, designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach also hit a home run, his sixth of the young season, which ultimately made the difference in the Seattle victory.
“The home run hitter hit one, too, so mine doesn’t count,” Gordon told reporters after the game. “I was find with doing what I was doing, just trying to play my game.”
It feels like everyone is getting in on the long ball parade for the Mariners early in the season. Jay Bruce leads the team with seven homers, while Tim Beckham and Vogelbach each have six, and two other players have contributed four.
Mariners Winning Despite Plans to Rebuild
Overall, the Mariners have hit 36 home runs to lead the American League. They also lead the league in slugging percentage, batting average, and runs per game.
“What a team effort,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters. “Literally everyone in the bullpen and up and down the lineup is contributing. It’s a great feeling. Confidence is building.”
That hot start is in stark contrast to what the Mariners were expecting heading into the 2019 season. Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto had traded away some of the team’s biggest pieces in what looked to be a rebuilding plan. But an unexpectedly hot start has some beginning to wonder if Seattle could be a surprise contender as the year goes on.
“We won’t take anything away from our long-term plan in order to address short-term needs,” Dipoto told The Seattle Times earlier this week in addressing the team’s hot start. “But we’ve shown we can be pretty creative. If it comes down to July, and we’re still performing like the best lineup in history, like they are now, clearly we’ll address areas of need.”
Bettors and bookmakers aren’t quite buying the Mariners as a World Series contender just yet. But by jumping out to a four-game lead in the AL West, Seattle has forced sportsbooks to cut their odds significantly. The Mariners are now listed at 33/1 to win the World Series according to William Hill, a number that now puts a franchise that was an afterthought two weeks ago in the top half of the league.