SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners' powerful lineup finally broke out. Appropriately it was Nelson Cruz who capped the home run eruption.
Cruz hit his major league-leading 15th homer, Mike Zunino went deep twice, and the Mariners hit six long balls on their way to an 11-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.
"Talent will play in this league because you play 162 games. You' going to have spots where you have good luck here, good luck there, but in the end talent will play out," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We have talent on this club. We have guys with track records and I believe what the numbers say in the book are going to come to fruition and I think you're starting to see that."
Cruz's drive came in the eighth inning off San Diego reliever Frank Garces, who had already given up homers to Zunino and Justin Ruggiano an inning earlier. The six homers were tied for the most hit by the Mariners in their park, the last coming in 2004 against Kansas City.
Zunino hit a 439-foot solo shot leading off the sixth inning then added a two-run homer in the seventh. Zunino began the night hitting .159, but finished with three hits — his first three-hit game of the season — and the second multihomer game of his career.
Zunino said getting two straight days off, not playing Sunday and an off-day on Monday, was a huge benefit physically and mentally.
"It's been a work in progress. It's one of those things where you try to get back to where you feel comfortable," Zunino said.
Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison also homered for Seattle. Seager lined a three-run homer, his fourth of the season, as part of Seattle's four-run first inning against San Diego starter Ian Kennedy (2-2). Morrison hit his fifth homer in the past 10 games with a solo shot off the top of the wall in right-center field in the third inning.
Kennedy lasted just 4 2-3 innings, and allowed two of the five homers. San Diego has given up 50 home runs this season, the most in baseball.
"I was falling behind a lot of guys early on, threw a lot of pitches," Kennedy said.
Seattle starter James Paxton (1-2) threw six shutout innings for his first victory. Paxton was inconsistent, but limited the Padres to three hits and pitched out of bases loaded situations in the second and fourth innings. Paxton said his arm felt too lively and he had trouble keeping his pitches controlled.
"I was a little bit all over the place and want to clean that up, but felt like the ball was coming out really good," Paxton said.
In both the second and fourth, Paxton got the first two outs with ease and then fell apart. He walked three straight batters in the second all on full counts, before getting Clint Barmes to pop out, also on a 3-2 pitch. Paxton threw 38 pitches in that inning, 30 of them to the final four batters.
Paxton was in the same situation in the fourth, giving up two-out singles to Jedd Gyorko and Will Middlebrooks, and another 3-2 walk to Cory Spangenberg. This time Paxton struck out Barmes looking.
Padres: Wil Myers was a late scratch from the lineup after aggravating a sore wrist during batting practice. ... RHP Josh Johnson played long toss on Tuesday and will get a throwing schedule finalized in the next few days as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Johnson threw a simulated game recently but as a precaution the Padres slowed his progress. His next step will be another simulated game.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma is being shut down from throwing for the next 10-14 days after still having tightness in his strained right lat muscle following a throwing session last week. Iwakuma has been on the disabled list since April 24.
Padres: RHP James Shields (4-0) will try and become the first San Diego pitcher to start a season 5-0 since Justin Germano in 2007. Shields allowed five earned runs in each of his last two starts but came away with victories in both.
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker (1-3) looks for his first win at home this season. Seattle adjusted its rotation to have Walker throw against the Padres and line up three left-handers to pitch against Boston in a four-game series this weekend.