SAN DIEGO -- Mariners rookie second baseman Nick Franklin got his first Major League hit on Wednesday and followed that up with a two-homer day on Thursday as the youngster got off to a hot start in his first week since being called up from Triple-A.
Franklin showed some fancy footwork, as well, dodging a postgame Gatorade shower from teammate Aaron Harang while doing a television interview after Seattle topped the Padres, 7-1, in the series finale.
"I wasn't expecting that," Franklin said, after he eventually did succumb to a beer shower in the clubhouse locker room. "But it's awesome. I'm glad we won. It's a great win coming back from last night. I'm really happy we won."
The night before, Franklin had been more reluctant to bask in the glow of his first big league hit, given his single to left in the fifth inning off Padres lefty Eric Stults came in a 3-2 loss.
That time, he watched Felix Hernandez fake throwing the ball into the stands after it was taken out of play and knew what was coming.
"I saw that," Franklin said with a smile. "I was actually kind of expecting it, because I remember one of the Mariners games a few years ago -- I don't remember which player -- but somebody else with their first hit and he did the fake. So I've remembered that."
Franklin, 22, is trying to keep it all in perspective as he whirlwinds through his first week of Major League ball after getting called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday.
He gave the ball from his first hit to his parents, who traveled to Seattle for his debut and are now on the road trip to San Diego and Minneapolis before returning to their home in Florida. He got his third straight start on Thursday as manager Eric Wedge said he wants to get him as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible.
"I'm starting to settle in a little bit and starting to feel a little more comfortable," Franklin said, "Not just in the box, but being in the environment and with the pitching and everything. It's taken a while to get used to. But this is just the beginning and hopefully not the end."
Franklin is just the fourth American League player since the start of the 2011 season to hit his first two career home runs in the same game, joining Manny Machado of the Orioles, Ryan Lavarnway of the Red Sox and Jesus Montero when he was with the Yankees.
At 22 years and 89 days, he's the third-youngest Mariners player to record a multi-home run game. Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez both achieved that three times before they reached that age.
Smoak, Morse close to returning to lineup
SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Justin Smoak wasn't in the starting lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Padres, but could be ready by Friday in Minnesota as he recovers from a tight oblique muscle, according to manager Eric Wedge.
Meanwhile, right fielder Michael Morse will rejoin the team in Minneapolis on Friday after staying behind in Seattle for tests and treatment on a strained quadriceps muscle.
"You'll see him tomorrow, but I don't think you'll see him in the lineup," Wedge said prior to Thursday's game at Petco Park. "It'll probably be a long shot [for Friday], but we'll go from there."
As for Smoak? He pinch-hit in the eighth inning on Thursday and is able to swing fully right-handed, but is still working to regain full extension left-handed.
"He's close, just not yet," Wedge said. "We got him in yesterday and gave him a chance to hit a homer in that situation [a 1-1 tie]. You've got to do that. The guy threw him a couple changeups, so he was a little out front, but the batting practice was encouraging yesterday. We still need to get him a little further along, so we'll see how his work goes today and where he's at."
"But I don't think he's too far away from hitting left-handed. And when I say not too far away, I'm hoping as early as tomorrow."
For Ryan, Cabrera's hit the one that got away
SAN DIEGO -- If you want a glimpse into the intricacies of one baseball play, listen to Brendan Ryan talk about how he should have played a hit-and-run by the Padres' Everth Cabrera in the 10th inning of Wednesday's 3-2 loss.
Ryan, an outstanding defensive shortstop, couldn't reverse course and make a diving stop on Cabrera's shot through the hole after he'd already taken several steps toward the bag when Chris Denorfia took off for second on the pitch.
But Ryan said he never should have been in that position in the first place, having anticipated that Cabrera would hit the ball towards the shortstop hole, and feeling he should have switched the play so second baseman Nick Franklin was responsible for covering the bag on any steal attempt against pitcher Yoervis Medina.
"There's only two things that are going to happen: They're either going to bunt it or slash hit-and-run it," Ryan said. "I wasn't caught off-guard there. I should have switched the coverage and stayed home, and we could at least get one and maybe two out of it. That whole inning could have been completely different and I feel that was on me."
How much of that was just hindsight?
"Maybe none of it, because I see every pitch that's coming and I know what Medina's ball does and what kind of swing he's going to get on it," said Ryan. "There's only one place that ball is going to go in my mind, and I still thought I had it measured, but I should have stayed home there, for sure."
How often do middle infielders switch coverage? Cabrera was hitting left-handed, so normally the second baseman would be the one to stay put and the shortstop would cover.
"It depends on the pitch, the count, the action on the guy pitching," Ryan said. "He's got good running sink. In my mind, there's only one place that ball is going to go and that's to my right. I don't know. I just shouldn't have been going to second there. I should have been staying home."
Manager Eric Wedge appreciated Ryan shouldering the blame for both that situation and a near-incredible play on the batter before that led to an infield single.
"It's him being sincere, but it's not his fault," Wedge said. "We talked about it late last night. He was the last one here. That's the passion and how genuine he is. It's personal to him. That's why he's a special defensive player. The fact of the matter is, most players don't even get to that first ball or if they do, they can't do anything with it. And like I told him about the second play, you have to tip your cap to the other team now and again. You can't do everything. You're not Superman. But I appreciate how much that means to him."
As for Ryan being aware enough to see things before they play out?
"That's huge," said Wedge. "His court awareness out there is unbelievable. From what the catcher is calling, he sees everything there and understands situations and where he needs to be. When I go out to the mound, he's right there with me. He's ahead of the game. He's got it. That's a big part of what he does defensively."
• Triple-A Tacoma set franchise records (since 1995) with 25 runs and 30 hits in a 25-6 victory at Colorado Springs on Wednesday. Center fielder Abraham Almonte went 6-for-6 with six singles, while Dustin Ackley was 5-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs and shortstop Brett Miller was 3-for-7 with a home run and six RBIs.
Franklin Gutierrez went 2-for-6 to raise his average to .208 in 12 rehab games while continuing to play right field, while Jesus Montero played catcher in this game and was 2-for-5 to put his average at .250 in 28 at-bats since being sent down to Tacoma.
• The Mariners are tied with the Marlins for the most walk-off losses in the Majors with five after Wednesday's 3-2 loss in 10 innings.