1B Justin Smoak reached a career high when he hit his 20th home run Saturday. Smoak took Oakland starter Jarrod Parker deep for a two-run shot in the second inning, making him the fourth Mariner to reach the 20-homer mark this season. Just as encouraging is that two of those home runs came from the right side of the plate, where the switch-hitting Smoak has struggled. He had right-handed homers against southpaws Bruce Chen (Royals) and C.J. Wilson (Angels) over a three-day stretch last week.
RHP Chance Ruffin has had a fairly rough go of it since getting promoted Sept. 3. The rookie reliever had given up 12 hits in nine innings heading into Saturday’s game, but only one of those had been a home run. After a stretch of seven consecutive games without allowing a homer, Ruffin gave up back-to-back long balls in Saturday’s game. He has an 8.38 ERA after 100 appearances with the Mariners this season.
RHP Danny Farquhar struck out two of the three batters he faced in Saturday’s ninth inning, earning his 16th save. The rookie is 16 for 18 in save opportunities since replacing Tom Wilhelmsen as the closer in early August.
RHP Brandon Maurer turned in another solid start Saturday and could be back in the mix for a spot in the 2014 rotation. The 23-year-old rookie got hammered as a starter earlier this season, leading to a demotion and a role in the bullpen, but he has made the most of his latest opportunity as a starter. Maurer gave up six hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings of his Saturday start, and he has gone 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA as a starter this month. Maurer is likely to compete with fellow youngsters Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez for spots in the 2014 rotation that should already have two locks: RHPs Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
SS Brad Miller has just eight home runs this season, but he has become pretty proficient when it comes to getting them in bunches. Saturday marked the third time this season that Miller has hit multiple home runs in a game; he hit two off Oakland starter Jarrod Parker, including his first career grand slam. Six of Miller’s eight home runs this season have come in his three multi-hit games.
OF Abraham Almonte went 0-for-4 on Saturday, marking the first time in his 19 major league games that he has failed to reach base. He struck out three times and is hitting .264.
RHP Erasmo Ramirez was battling a tight groin muscle last week, but he’s apparently healthy enough to make a Sunday start to close out the season. LHP James Paxton was originally scheduled to start in place of Ramirez, but the 23-year-old right-hander is now slated to be on the mound for his 13th start of the season. Ramirez has held opponents without an earned run in two of his past three starts, and he’s hoping to close out on a strong note as the Mariners audition him for a spot in the 2014 rotation.