Offense Explodes as Mariners Rip Red Sox - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Offense Explodes as Mariners Rip Red Sox

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by SeattleMariners.com

SEATTLE - Veteran left fielder Raul Ibanez continued his torrid first half with his 22nd home run of the season and Felix Hernandez took advantage of the Mariners' offensive production as Seattle rolled to a 11-4 win over the Red Sox on Monday.

Ibanez went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs as he extended his hitting streak to 13 games, during which he's cranked out eight home runs and helped ignite a Mariners team that has won five of its last seven games in improving to 40-49.

The Red Sox lost their third straight, but still own the best record in the American League at 54-37.

Ibanez's solo home run in the fifth staked Seattle to a 3-2 advantage and he added a run-scoring single in a three-run sixth that gave Hernandez some welcome cushion.

Hernandez, making his second-to-last start before the All-Star Game on July 16, allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings as he improved to 9-4 with a 2.69 ERA.

The Mariners ace is 4-0 with four no-decisions over his last eight starts and his ERA is second in the AL behind only teammate Hisashi Iwakuma, who starts on Tuesday in the second of the four-game series.

Hernandez improved to 7-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 13 career starts versus Boston.

Pitching with his familiar King's Court cheering section among the crowd of 21,830 at Safeco Field, Hernandez won for just the third time this year at home, where he's 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in eight starts compared to 6-2 with 2.43 ERA in 11 road starts.

He'll line up for another home start on Saturday against the Angels in his final appearance before making his fourth All-Star trip, this time to New York's Citi Field.

While Hernandez has been plagued by a lack of run support over the years, that wasn't an issue on Monday. Seven of Seattle's 15 hits went for extra bases, including two doubles each by Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders.

Ibanez supplied the long-ball damage again and is tied with Darrell Evans for the fourth-most home runs in a season by a player age 41 or older, just seven behind record-holder Ted Williams, who hit 29 in 1960 at age 41.

Signed as primarily a platoon option, Ibanez is having a huge first half and eight of his home runs have come against lefties after not hitting any of his 19 last year against southpaws while with the Yankees.

Ibanez also increased his team RBI lead to 51, just 11 shy of his total last year in 130 games.

The Mariners were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position -- extending their team streak to 0-for-25 dating to Friday's game in Cincinnati -- before Smoak doubled down the third-base line to score Kendrys Morales with the game's first run in the fourth.

That hit seemed to open things up for the Mariners as Smoak later added another RBI double in a 3-for-4 night. Smoak has hit .339 (19-for-56) with four doubles, four homers and nine RBIs in 17 games since coming off the disabled list, raising his season average to .267.

The Mariners scored twice off Jon Lester in a 39-pitch fourth inning that helped drive him from the game early. The native of Tacoma, Wash., wound up going five-plus innings while giving up nine hits and five runs as he fell to 8-5.

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