The Big O: Miguel Olivo delivers key hits for Mariners in bid for AL West crown
Miguel Olivo's bat remains an important weapon in the arsenal of the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners catcher demonstrated what a clutch hitter he continues to be when he clubbed two home runs in Sunday's 7-3 win over Detroit with a solo homer and a two-run blast. He now has four career multi-home run games.
Detroit, MI, United States
June 17, 2011 10:55 am EDT
Sports, Baseball, Major League Baseball - American League
Miguel Olivo's bat remains an important weapon in the arsenal of the Seattle Mariners.
Don't forget his catcher's mitt either.
The Mariners catcher demonstrated what a clutch hitter he continues to be when he clubbed two home runs in Sunday's 7-3 win over Detroit with a solo homer and a two-run blast. He now has four career multi-home run games.
Olivo is batting .241 in 57 games with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs. He has a solid slugging percentage of .427.
“When you get two strikes on him, he's not mailing in any at bats,” said Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, who collected three hits Sunday at Detroit to tie a season-high and posted his 10th multi-hit game in his last 20 games. “It fires up Wedgy (Mariner manager Eric Wedge) and it fires guys up. It sets a great example. That's what a leader does. He takes professional bats every time. He's a great teammate.”
“Give the credit to Detroit too, they threw the ball very well,” Olivo said. “(Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello) was hanging the ball and I had good contact.”
Olivo has hit four home run at Comerica Park this season.
Coming into Sunday's game, Olivo was battling .292 with 14 runs scored, five doubles, six homers and 18 RBIs over his last 20 ballgames.
Ryan admitted that Olivo's accomplishments are even more impressive considering he has to handle the wear and tear that comes on the body from being an every-day catcher. He had one stretch this season where he saw 11 consecutive starts.
“He's been around and knows the game and has been on winning teams,” Ryan said. “He knows what it's all about. He's a good guy to have on the team. He's a warrior. We're glad to have him on our side.”
Olivo's first homer on Sunday, when Detroit was ahead 2-0, ignited a three-run inning, He hit another homer in the eighth for some padding and a 5-2 lead.
“His second home run was an exclamation point,” Ryan said.
“When I called time out, I saw the fastball coming,” said Olivo, who hit the second homer off Detroit reliever Joaquin Benoit. “I know he knows I saw it coming so I knew he'd throw the breaking ball. He threw the changeup and I just swung.”
Olivo's homers came at the right time as Seattle ace Felix Hernandez was able to use the offense to post his seventh win of the season.
“When you have a pitcher like Hernandez and we're battling with our hitting,” Olivo said. “After our home run that's when he got everything together and he could win the game.”
A member of the Colorado Rockies last season and a 10-year Major League veteran, Olivo has started 51 of Seattle's 66 games at catcher through Saturday.
The squad is 29-22 when he starts. The Mariners, 32-30 overall through Saturday, were 2-4 on their road trip before ending it in the win over the Tigers. They've been chasing the Texas Rangers for leadership in the American League's Western Division.
“This was a big win for us,” Olivo said, noting that 2-5 would not have been acceptable for his team
“Two out of seven? That's not good,” Ryan said. '”We need to continue to get Ws. This was a big one.”
On his team's hitting, “Slowly, we're heading in the right direction,” said Wedge, whose team was winding up a seven-game road trip. “We've made a lot of hard outs on this road trip. We've got the dialogue in the dugout. All that matters and it leads me to believe it will get better. It's never at the pace I would like it to be at.”
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