6/21/2014 7:25 P.M. ET
Miller responds at plate since May benching
By Jackson Alexander / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- On May 22, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon decided enough was enough and sat starting shortstop Brad Miller, then the owner of a .156 batting average, for the series opener against the Astros.
It was more than just a routine day off, as McClendon allowed Miller to reflect on the bench for the next three games.
"Sometimes getting away from the game helps, where you just sit back and watch and analyze, and figure out what's going on," McClendon said. "I don't know if that helps, but nothing else worked."
The ensuing 22 games have been a revelation for Miller. After two hits in a 2-1 win over the Royals on Saturday, and belting a go-ahead homer in the ninth on Friday, Miller's batting average climbed above the Mendoza line (.202) for the first time since April 18.
"At the time, I obviously wanted to play. I was confident in myself, and wanted to help, but he gave me that time and I used it to kind of slow down," Miller said.
Since May 25, Miller is hitting .275/.346/.449.
"The one thing we forget, particularly with young players, it's hard to play the game of baseball, it's really hard," McClendon said. "When you start to get a few hits, your confidence goes up and all of a sudden you relax in the field."
Throughout Miller's struggles early in the season, McClendon reminded himself of the reason Miller was anointed as the starting shortstop: his Minor League numbers.
Miller sported a .334 average in 2012 between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson, and a .920 on-base plus slugging percentage at Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma in 2013. Elite figures for a shortstop.
"You look at the Minor League numbers and what he's done, they're off the charts, you don't see those kind of numbers in the Minor Leagues, not even from a [Robinson] Cano," McClendon said. "It's pretty impressive."
Miller looks to extend his hitting streak to seven games on Sunday in the series finale against Kansas City.
LoMo hits it big in his return to Kansas City
KANSAS CITY -- Logan Morrison's mother wanted something from her son: a single.
His grandmother's request trumped that as she asked for a home run.
The Mariners first baseman and Kansas City native satisfied both as he homered in the fifth inning, then singled in the ninth of a 7-5 win over the Royals on Friday night in his return to his place of birth.
"Everyone was happy," Morrison said after the game. "I love playing here, my grandma gets to see me play, and she meant so much to me when I was little."
Morrison made his homecoming last August as a member of the Marlins, but his first Major League home run at Kauffman Stadium, where he spent much of his youth watching the Royals, had to wait until Friday.
"I've been coming to this place since I was 3, 4 years old watching Carlos Beltran, George Brett," Morrison said before Saturday's middle game. "The AstroTurf was still on the field, hot like it is today. It was pretty special."
LoMo's mark on the game was not solely made at the plate (2-for-5, one homer, three RBIs).
Morrison preserved a 5-5 tie with a spectacular overhead grab, robbing Alcides Escobar of a potential RBI single in the sixth inning.
"It was a great catch," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Really, the way things have been going for the Royals, I thought it was a hit the whole way."
Saunders successful in first rehab contest
KANSAS CITY -- The Mariners received a positive report from Triple-A Tacoma, where Michael Saunders collected three hits in his first rehab stint.
Saunders finished Friday's game 3-for-4 with a run, two RBIs and a walk.
Seattle placed Saunders on the 15-day disabled list on June 11 with right shoulder inflammation.
He's eligible to return to the club on Thursday, giving him a shot at joining the Mariners for the start of their series with the Indians on Friday at Safeco Field.
In 52 games (165 plate appearances), Saunders has posted a .265/.313/.429 triple slash line.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.