By Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers kept giving the Seattle Mariners chances to get back over the .500 mark for the first time since June 24.
The Mariners were receptive to the idea. Seattle scored the final six runs of the game, including Robinson Cano’s tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth, to beat Texas 6-4 and improve their record to 54-53.
Seattle’s win was helped by four Texas errors, two balks from losing pitcher Alex Claudio (2-1) and a pitching staff that limited the Rangers to one hit over the final seven innings.
Texas, which traded ace Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the day, has lost three-straight games.
The Mariners trailed 4-0 after two innings but completed the comeback in the ninth on a night when neither Texas starter Cole Hamels nor Seattle starter Felix Hernandez was sharp. Seattle’s bullpen had a lot to do with that.
“The story of the game is really the bullpen,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Guys were outstanding, eight punchouts down the stretch. Lot of guys chipping in. That game did not start out in great fashion. Nice way to start a road trip in a place we have struggled to come back and win games.”
Cano’s single to right with one out in the ninth scored two in an inning in which the Rangers made their fourth error and Claudio committed his second balk.
The rally made a winner of David Phelps (1-1), who struck out five and didn’t allow a run in 1 2/3 innings. Edwin Diaz closed out the Rangers with a perfect ninth for his 20th save.
“With this lineup, I never feel like a game is out of reach,” said Seattle outfielder Ben Gamel, who scored the winning run after reaching on Rougned Odor’s second error of the game. “Happens quick. We can be right back in a game in three, four at-bats. The way these guys swing the bat, it’s always close.”
Odor’s two-run homer in the first, which gave him homers in three consecutive plate appearances, provided Hamels with early support.
Texas doubled the lead to 4-0 in the second as Carlos Gomez homered to center to open the inning, then Elvis Andrus plated Shin-Soo Choo with a two-out single.
But Hamels, who came into the game with a sparkling 2.88 ERA at Globe Life Park this season, couldn’t make the lead stand up.
Seattle scored three times in the fourth inning. Two runs came in on a single to left by Danny Valencia as Texas left fielder Drew Robinson misplayed the ball. Leonys Martin followed two batters later with an RBI grounder, and the Texas lead was down to 4-3.
The Mariners tied the score in the sixth on an RBI triple by Martin that scored Guillermo Heredia, who reached on an error.
“You have to make pitches, and ultimately when it comes down to it, you get to the heart of the lineup, you’ve got to keep the ball down,” said Hamels. “It wasn’t the case in that fourth inning. You try to make good pitches, and obviously I left pitches up. Those guys were able to do what they do. At the same time, you have to battle through and keep maintaining the lead that we had. Ultimately, I failed to do so.”
Hernandez allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings, and Hamels gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings.
Seattle finished with eight hits, with catcher Carlos Ruiz going 2-for-3. Gomez went 2-for-3 for Texas, which had five hits in the first two innings and one in the final seven.
In addition to the Darvish trade, the Rangers also dealt with the hangover from Adrian Beltre’s 3,000th hit on Sunday. Texas manager Jeff Banister said the team had no excuses for its play.
“I look at it as we’re professional players and you’ve got to maneuver through that and move on,” he said. “We’ve been really good at being able to deal with those types of things. Obviously, the magnitude yesterday, the high emotion with the 3,000 hits and then today with the trades and things like that. I don’t like to use those as any type of excuse, but they are human beings, and there are different emotions that come in this game.”