May 31, 2013 in Sports

Franklin hits 1st 2 MLB homers in 7-1 Mariners win

Bernie Wilson Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

The Mariners’ Nick Franklin watches his first major league home in the sixth inning. He hit another in the eighth.
(Full-size photo)

SAN DIEGO – Nick Franklin left Petco Park with some nice souvenirs.

Franklin hit his first two big league home runs and Kendrys Morales, Brendan Ryan and Endy Chavez also homered to give the Seattle Mariners a 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday.

Franklin, a second baseman who was a first-round draft pick in 2009, made his big league debut on Monday and got his first hit, a single, in a loss to the Padres on Wednesday night.

He got that ball, and someone in the Mariners bullpen retrieved his first home run ball, which landed in the sandy play area beyond the fence in right-center.

“It’s always nice just to get those out of the way,” Franklin said. “Not only that, but to win and split the series with San Diego.”

Franklin also got a beer shower from teammates.

“I wasn’t expecting that. But I mean, it’s awesome,” he said. “I’m glad we won. It’s a great win coming back from last night. I’m really happy that we won.”

The Mariners lost 3-2 in 10 innings on Wednesday night.

“Wow, big day for Nick,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Good for him. He hit a couple balls really good. You can see in the short period of time he’s here he’s a little bit more comfortable, gaining some confidence. It was an impressive day by him. He did a nice job at second base, too.”

The five homers were a season high for the Mariners, who worked over Andrew Cashner and Petco Park in earning a split of their pair of home-and-home, two-game series with the Padres.

The five homers allowed were a season high by the Padres and tied for the most they allowed in Petco Park history. They surrendered five to Atlanta on July 14, 2006.

Franklin’s first homer came off Cashner with two outs in the sixth inning. He connected again with two outs in the eighth, driving a pitch from Tim Stauffer deep into the seats in right.

“I wasn’t thinking of it,” Franklin said of getting his second homer so soon after the first. “I was just more trying to stick to my same approach and it hit my barrel.”

Felix Hernandez (6-4) snapped a two-start losing streak, holding the Padres to one run and three hits in eight innings. He struck out six and walked three.

“He was really good today,” Wedge said. “He stayed in his delivery better. Executed pitches, good stuff. Controlled the ballgame, which is what we want guys to do.”

As well as he pitched, Hernandez was equally proud of his three plate appearances, including a walk ahead of Chavez’s homer in the seventh.

“I saw 19 pitches, OK?” he said, repeating himself twice for emphasis. “I’m just trying to put together some good at-bats. That’s all. It’s always fun hitting.”

“That means something,” Wedge said. “That’s the difference between that guy pitching another inning, or not, really. I thought he was really good. He was feeling the flow, man. He kept wanting to see pitches. If you put up those type of quality at-bats as a pitcher, you contribute to the offense, so he did a nice job.”

Morales homered to straightaway center leading off the second and Ryan hit a high, arcing ball that just went over the fence in the left-field corner leading off the third, both off Cashner. It was Morales’ seventh and Ryan’s second.

Chavez hit a two-run homer off the top of the new fence in right-center off Stauffer with one out in the seventh. The fence in right field was brought in 11 feet in the offseason to make the spacious park play more fairly.

Hernandez had only one bad inning, allowing two singles, a walk and Carlos Quentin’s sacrifice fly in the fourth. Hernandez is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA in six starts at Petco Park.

Hernandez got out of the fourth on a great play by shortstop Ryan, who laid out to get Jedd Gyorko’s grounder to start a double play.

“He’s a guy who not only has been around for a long time, he’s a good competitor that has control of his pitches at all times,” San Diego’s Yonder Alonso said of Hernandez. “He was commanding the zone pretty well and keeping the ball down.”

Cashner (4-3) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.

“I just left a couple of balls up in the zone,” Cashner said.

Notes

Franklin is the seventh-youngest Mariners player to record a multi-homer game, at 22 years, 89 days. Only Ken Griffey Jr. (three times) and Alex Rodriguez (three times) hit two homers in a game at a younger age. … The Mariners open a three-game series at Minnesota today, with RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 2.35) facing RHP Mike Pelfry (3-5, 6.85).

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