OAKLAND -- At the bottom of the first page of the Mariners' game notes on Friday, there was a "Did you know?" fact about rookie third baseman Kyle Seager.Entering the series opener against the A's, Seager was batting .422 in road games since the All-Star break, the best mark in the American League for those with a minimum of 45 at-bats. "I did not know that," Seager said before the opener of Seattle's six-game road trip. Seager hit .600 on the Mariners' last road trip, a six-game, two-city stretch with stops at Tampa Bay and Cleveland. He went 15-for-25 and had at least one hit in every game. Against the Indians, Seager went 10-for-13 with five doubles and a home run. "That wasn't a normal thing for sure," Seager said of the previous road trip. "That was a good trip. I was feeling comfortable in the box, seeing the ball well and everything, and trying to [make] good swings. Sometimes, balls just fall for you. It was one of those times where the ball was falling for me. It was a good road trip. It was a great road trip." Seager is batting .351 on the road and .213 at home for the season, yet throughout his baseball career before this year he's never noticed "much of a difference" between his hitting at home and on the road. "You pretty much try to stay consistent wherever you're playing," Seager said.
Seager walked and scored a run in the second inning of Friday night's 9-2 loss, but he went 0-for-3.
Smoak hoping to reverse fortunes in return
OAKLAND -- Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak returned from the disabled list and went right into the lineup on Friday night against the A's.Smoak only hopes that his luck has changed after three weeks away. Smoak took a bad-hop grounder in the face on Aug. 12 against Boston, breaking his nose and sustaining a hairline fracture of his cheekbone. That was his first game back after missing seven games with an injured left thumb he sustained on Aug. 2 against Oakland. "This has been a crazy year for me personally," Smoak said prior to the game. "It's one of those things you have to keep battling through. There's reasons why things happen sometimes. You just got to look at the positives." Smoak went 2-for-4 and struck out once. He lined a third-inning single off A's right-hander Guillermo Moscoso and grounded a single to right in the ninth off rookie Andrew Carignan.
"It was good just to get back in the swing of things," Smoak said. "To get back playing again is great. It will be better once I'm playing first. DHing on a cold night, it was tough. It was good to get back and hopefully we'll come out [Saturday] and get a win."
Smoak had high hopes the season, but has struggled. He's hitting .223 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs after Friday's loss."I want him to get back into the groove and get that feel back offensively, get some reps underneath his belt," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "It's not really a numbers thing for me, but just for him to feel good about the way he finishes the season. We all know what he's capable of doing." Smoak appeared in four games with Triple-A Tacoma on a rehab assignment. He went 0-for-11 with three walks and run scored. "I hit a few balls hard," Smoak said. "It was just one of those things, I was trying to get my timing back. Everything's been good. I'm ready to get going here." Smoak, who traveled to Oakland earlier on Friday, was in the lineup as the designated hitter and batted fifth. Wedge said it was just "nice" to write Smoak's name on his lineup card again. "It's been a difficult month, month and a half for him injury-wise," Wedge said. "He played four games down there. I got him DHing [Friday] just because he played first base the last couple of nights and traveled today. So, we'll get him back out there after that."
Wily Mo Pena missed his second straight game to be with his wife, who is expecting a baby. Manager Eric Wedge said he expected Pena to return to the team sometime this weekend. Third baseman Chone Figgins (right hip flexor) worked out with a trainer before Friday night's game, but there's still no target date for his return from the disabled list. "I've got to see how he feels [Friday] after working out a little bit," Wedge said. "We brought him here with us so he could continue to keep working out. It's just really a day-by-day thing with regard to how he feels. We can't get him out there until he feels like he's ready." Wedge said sending Figgins on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Tacoma is "probably a long shot." Tacoma's season ends on Monday.
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.