Watch: Mariners’ J.P. Crawford crushes 1st pitch for career-high 10th HR

Aug 6, 2023, 1:58 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

J.P. Crawford of the Seattle Mariners swings on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners are on some kind of roll right now, and leadoff hitter J.P. Crawford is as big of a reason for that as any player.

That point was delivered with authority at the start of the Mariners’ Sunday afternoon win in Anaheim.

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Crawford jumped all over the first delivery from Angels starting pitcher Chase Silseth, crushing a 96 mph fastball right down the middle over the wall in right-center field to give Seattle an immediate 1-0 lead.

Here’s the homer:

Now, a few things to point out about this blast.

First, how about the catch by the Mariners fan to keep the home run from bouncing off the scoreboard and back into the field of play? (Per the ground rules at Angel Stadium, any batted ball that hits the video board in right-center above the padded wall is a home run). That fan checked in on social media shortly after the catch, and it’s safe to say he’s pretty excited about it.

Second, the 397-foot shot (101 mph exit velocity, 27 degree launch angle) was the 10th of the season by Crawford, marking the first time in seven MLB seasons that he has hit double-digit homers in a single year and setting a new career-high homer mark. He had hit nine in 160 games in 2021, but he has smacked one more than that in just 104 contests this year.

Finally, making this milestone all the more special is that the 28-year-old Crawford did it in front of friends and family from his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., which is about a half-hour drive from Anaheim.

Seattle went on to win 3-2 in 10 innings Sunday to complete a huge four-game sweep of the Angels, and it was a notable series for a few Mariners players from Southern California. Dylan Moore, who grew up about 10 miles from Anaheim in Yorba Linda, went a combined 4 for 8 with two doubles and a home run on Friday and Saturday, while Ty France, another native of the greater Los Angeles area, hit a big three-run homer in the first inning of Friday’s wild 9-7 Mariners win and added an important RBI single Saturday.

Sunday: Suárez delivers in 10th, Mariners beat Angels 3-2 to sweep

Crawford, meanwhile, is enjoying his best offensive season in the big leagues. Following Sunday’s contest, his slash line stood at .263/.379/.408 for a .787 OPS, which is a considerable jump from his career-best OPS of .714 in 2021. It also ranks sixth among all shortstops in MLB this year. He has 68 walks already, too, tying his career-high from last year and ranking fifth this year among all MLB players and first among shortstops (by a total of 20). Oh, and his 25 doubles are second only to the 37 he hit in 2021.

Over Crawford’s last 30 games, he has a .301/.420/.469 slash line for a .889 OPS with three homers, seven RBIs, 19 runs scored, and 22 walks to 28 strikeouts.

As for the Mariners, they now are on their first winning streak of at least five games in 2023. Seattle has won 10 of its last 12 games and locked up its fifth straight series win with Saturday’s 3-2 victory. The M’s haven’t lost a series since the July 14-16 set against Detroit to begin the second half of the season, as they split a four-game series with Minnesota on July 17-20. That has the Mariners at 60-52, just 2 1/2 games back in the American League Wild Card race and six back in the AL West.

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Watch: Mariners’ J.P. Crawford crushes 1st pitch for career-high 10th HR