via Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON — At long last, the Mariners got that third run that eluded them in each of the past five games — and for good measure, they tacked on three more in a 6-2 victory over the Rangers in their series opener Friday night.
After scoring two or fewer in the past five contests, including four losses, the Mariners were on the verge of doing it again until the ninth inning Friday. Jean Segura’s two-run double was Seattle’s 12th hit of the game, but the Mariners left eight runners on base prior to Segura’s pivotal gapper to right-center off Rangers closer Keone Kela.
“We were due,” manager Scott Servais said. “We were due to put a rally together … it was a nice win, we needed to get back going again.”
The Mariners broke a three-game skid behind a decent outing from Felix Hernandez, who allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. Hernandez faced a potential hard-luck loss before Mitch Haniger tied the game at 2 with a solo homer in the eighth.
Haniger redeemed himself after running into an out in the second inning, when he led off with a double but was picked off trying to steal third.
Whether making self-inflicted outs or just falling to hit-robbing defense, the Mariners kept misfiring in Friday’s first eight innings. The troubles began when Nelson Cruz hit a would-be RBI double into the glove of an almost completely horizontal center fielder Drew Robinson, diving to his left for the second out in the first inning.
The Rangers also turned a double play to end the third, and first baseman Ronald Guzman made a nifty diving stop and threw to pitcher Mike Minor to end the fourth.
Seattle was unable to capitalize on six hits and a walk off Minor, who also lasted 5 1/3 innings. The Mariners had at least a runner on second and less than two out in five of the six innings Minor started.
“We certainly had a lot of chances earlier in the ballgame,” Servais said. “Our situational hitting and some of the other stuff, our execution wasn’t really good early.”
The game’s first batter, Dee Gordon, doubled and scored after a Segura single and a Robinson Cano RBI groundout. Just shy of three hours later, to start the ninth, Daniel Vogelbach singled. Pinch-runner Andrew Romine went to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on Gordon’s single, and Segura drove them both home.
The Mariners wound up scoring another recent game’s worth of runs before the ninth was over thanks to Kyle Seager and Haniger, who each singled home a run before Edwin Diaz closed it out.
Segura said despite the weak offensive results from the last two series against Oakland and Houston, the Mariners’ hitters were ready to break through.
“We were not frustrated,” Segura said. “We’ve faced really good pitching … [but] down the stretch, we battled.”