Raul Ibanez #28 of the Seattle Mariners watches his solo home run in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on July 8, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
SAFECO FIELD - The Seattle Mariners returned home from an impressive six-game road trip to Texas and Cincinnati to earn another victory against one of the top teams in baseball.
The Mariners exploded for 11 runs and Felix Hernandez earned his first win in four starts after three straight no-decisions.
Raul Ibanez homered, again. Justin Smoak added another three hits and Michael Saunders doubled twice as the Mariners earned an 11-4 victory.
Smoak is now batting .339 with four doubles, four home runs, eight walks and 9 RBI since coming off the disabled list on June 18.
"I think it's more real now than it's ever been," manager Eric Wedge said of Smoak's strong stretch at the plate.
Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager each singled to lead off the fourth inning before a double from Smoak down the left field line score to score Morales. Saunders drew a bases loaded walk to score Seager and the Mariners led 2-0.
Hernandez hit Jose Iglesias with a pitch and singles to Brock Holt and Daniel Nava allowed Iglesias to score. A wild pitch allowed Brock to cross the plate as well and even the game at 2-2.
Ibanez followed with a solo home run to right to break the tie in the fifth inning. Smoak and Mike Zunino singled off Jon Lester to lead off the sixth and end Lester's night. Saunders doubled to score both runners after an error from Nava in center field. Ibanez drove in Saunders and the Mariners led 6-2 through six.
Seattle scored four more in the seventh and a final run in the eighth to add to their totals. Boston also added a pair of late runs in defeat.
Turning Point: Raul Ibanez's solo home run in the 5th inning. Felix Hernandez had allowed the Red Sox to rally for two runs in the top of the inning before Ibanez's blast into the right field seats gave Seattle the lead once again.
Player Of The Game: Justin Smoak edges out Michael Saunders for the honors tonight. Smoak went 3 for 4 with a walk and hits from both sides of the plate. He drove in a pair of runs and scored twice to continue his strong offensive stretch.
Next Up: The second game of this four-game set with the Boston Red Sox takes place Tuesday day as RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4, 2.60 ERA) will take on RHP Allen Webster (1-2, 7.88 ERA).