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Mariners homer in 15th straight game, down Royals 7-6

UPDATED: Thu., April 11, 2019, 5:26 p.m.

By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It wasn’t the home run that extended the meaningless streak. It was the home run that extended the meaningful streak – the winning streak.

With his unusual but powerful body frame that’s part fullback and part beer keg and a unique swing to fit that build, Daniel Vogelbach had already reached cult hero status among Mariners fans despite never previously being a significant presence in Major League Baseball. But given an extended chance with the Mariners for the first time in his career, he’s moved past potential and into production and permanence.

Vogelbach unleashed that short, violent swing on a 95-mph fastball from Kansas City’s Glenn Sparkman in the 10th inning of a tie game, sending a line drive over the wall in deep right-center for the winning homer in the Mariners’ 7-6 come-from-behind victory against the Royals.

After losing the first game of the road trip, Seattle has reeled off six straight wins, including a four-game sweep of the Royals, to improve to 13-2 on the season. The Mariners open a six-game homestand on Friday night at T-Mobile Park vs. the Astros.

“That was awesome,” manager Scott Servais said. “What a team effort, just unbelievable series we had here. Great road trip and start to the season. Everybody is contributing. It’s a great feeling. Confidence is building. It’s at a high. And we are riding the Vogey train, what can we say?”

The Vogey train didn’t exactly leave the station early in the season. His playing time was lost behind veterans Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion. But he followed the advice of teammate Mitch Haniger: “Force them to play you.”

He’s done that. Since getting an emergency start vs. the Angels in the previous homestand finale, when he doubled and hit his first homer of the season, Vogelbach has a slash line of .462/.531/1.308 with four doubles, six homers and 11 RBIs.

That sixth homer didn’t look like it would get over the wall, but it was hit hard enough to possibly go through it. Servais called it a “one-iron.”

“I didn’t know if it was going to be high enough,” Vogelbach said. “I was hoping it would at least be off the wall for a double, but it rose out.”

Mariners rookie reliever Connor Sadzeck pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th for his first career save. It gave fellow rookie Brandon Brennan his first career win in relief.

The other streak was extended by an unlikely candidate and gave the Mariners a small piece of MLB history. Down 4-0 after five innings, Dee Gordon led off the top of the sixth with a solo homer to right field. Home runs aren’t typical for Gordon, who came in with 15 career homers in 865 MLB games. Gordon’s rare homer gave the Mariners a home run in all 15 games to start the season. That streak eclipsed the MLB record of 14 straight games previously held by the 2002 Cleveland Indians. Seattle has 35 homers on the season, which is the most in the American League.

He took zero credit for it.

“The home run hitter got his big one, so this don’t count for me,” Gordon said, trying to deflect the attention away from him.

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