Brad Miller relishes his homer night
Rookie shortstop celebrates first two homers with family, friends.
Seattle Times staff reporter
HOUSTON – After his big two-homer night on Friday, Mariner rookie shortstop Brad Miller got a chance to hang out at the hotel with his parents, who made the trip from their Florida home. Miller had joked after the game that his parents have attended so many games since he got called up, “I don’t even think my dad really works any more.”
Miller also managed to obtain both homer balls as mementos. For the first one, caught by a young Astros fan, Mariner equipment man Billy Sepich traded an autographed ball, a hat and a T-shirt. And the second one was thrown back onto the field, so that was easier.
“I have the first one with the authenticity,’’ Miller said. “That was pretty cool.”
So was hearing from numerous acquaintances via text, email and phone messages.
“I got a good amount. Just people saying congrats and that we have a lot of Mariners fans in Orlando. I was pretty pumped about that. It’s just cool hearing from old coaches, and old teammates, and buddies back home who are just excited as I was. That’s really cool.”
According to research by the Mariners, Miller is just the 22nd player dating back to 1916 with a pair of games with four-plus runs batted in after just 17 games in his career. Miller drove in four against the Red Sox on July 9. The only other player to do so this year is Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers. Miller has 12 RBI after 17 games. The only Mariner with more is Alvin Davis (17 in 1984).
Miller was also part of an MLB first Friday night, according to Elias: Never before in MLB history had a rookie hit two homers in a game, and another rookie hit for the cycle in the same game. Houston rookie Brandon Barnes accomplished the latter feat.
Walk this way
It wasn’t as eye-catching as hitting two homers, but rookie catcher Mike Zunino received a lot of praise for his three-walk game on Friday. That was one fewer than his total in 24 previous games. Zunino did have a three-walk game while with Tacoma on April 18, against Fresno.
“I was joking around with some guys,’’ Zunino said. “I couldn’t tell you when my last one was. I was joking that I should have had four. I chased a slider. I don’t remember ever having four, so that would have been something else.”
Quite the streak
Here’s what manager Eric Wedge had to say about the Mariners’ home-run streak, which reached 23 games on Friday, a team record and tied for fifth longest in MLB since records began being kept in 1916:
“It’s something that’s never been done before with the Mariners. There have been so many great teams and players here I think it says a lot about our current roster. It’s a level of consistency, which is rare, to be driving the ball and hitting the ball out of the ballpark.
“And you have to put together good ABs, a volume of good at-bats together to get your hits. It’s not just hitting the ball hard and making it go a long way. There’s a lot more that goes into it than that. I think it’s one hell of an accomplishment.”
Next on the list at 24 was the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, who featured homers during their streak from Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider.
“Those are pretty big names there,’’ Wedge said. “But nothing changes here. We’ve had guys get themselves in a good place and this is about coming out here and playing good baseball and be tension-free and work to win the ballgame.”
• Wedge said that Michael Morse (quad) is “feeling good” and still on schedule for a rehab assignment next week. “I’m hoping we take a good look at him on Monday and get him out after that,’’ he said.
• Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring) is on a rehab assignment already with Tacoma. “We are going to keep him in right field and try to keep him healthy,’’ Wedge said. “We’ll just continue to bounce back and forth between DH and the outfield and ramping up his innings in the outfield to get him there.”
• Roger Clemens was a visitor in the clubhouse.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @StoneLarry