By Scott Johnson, The Sports Xchange
SEATTLE — The Texas Rangers were hoping to follow their longest nine-inning game of the season and a long flight from Houston with a relatively stress-free opener in Seattle on Friday night.
By the early minutes of Saturday morning, the Rangers were finally able to get some needed rest.
Second baseman Rougned Odor hit a two-run homer in the top of the 13th inning, lifting the Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Odor delivered the big blow in the five-hour and two-minute game by hitting a 1-0 pitch from Seattle reliever Emilio Pagan into the right-field seats. It was Odor’s sixth home run of the season.
“It’s one win,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “We’ve got to come out (Saturday night), assess the collateral damage and see where we’re at.”
Texas reliever Matt Bush (2-0) picked up the win and Pagan (0-1) suffered the loss on a night when Seattle used eight different pitchers.
Rangers reliever Alex Claudio posted his first save with a scoreless bottom of the 13th.
Odor was hitless in his first five at-bats before coming to the plate with no outs and a runner on first base in the top of the 13th. He crushed the 1-0 pitch from Pagan over the wall in right.
“For him to step up in that situation, poised, we’ve seen him do it before,” Banister said. “He put a good swing on it.”
Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus went 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.
Neither starter factored into the decision, as both were effective enough to leave with the score tied 1-1. The Rangers’ Yu Darvish allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. Seattle starter Yovani Gallardo gave up one run and four hits in six innings.
Shortstop Jean Segura had three hits for Seattle and teammate Nelson Cruz added two hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. The Mariners’ Robinson Cano hit his sixth home run of the season with a fourth-inning solo shot.
Leadoff hitter Delino DeShields had two hits for the Rangers.
Seattle was on the verge of winning the game in the bottom of the 10th, when Segura led off with a double into the left-field corner. After Rangers reliever Tony Barnette struck out the Mariners’ Ben Gamel, Texas opted to intentionally walk Cano, bringing slugger Nelson Cruz to the plate. Cruz flied out to center field, then Kyle Seager hit a weak grounder to first base to end that threat.
Cruz got another chance to play the hero in the 12th, when Gamel’s two-out single and another Cano walk put two runners on. But Cruz flied out to center again, this time against the Rangers’ Matt Bush.
“Offensively, it’s tough to win when you only score one run,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. ” … We couldn’t catch a break offensively.”
Seattle ended up using eight pitchers, including two that had to come out after getting hurt in the 11th. Jean Machi got the first two outs of the inning but suffered a thumb injury that required a trainer’s attention and eventually ended his night. Evan Marshall replaced Machi, only to come out after two pitches because of a hamstring injury he suffered on a pitch follow-through.
“He’s probably going to be out a significant amount of time with that,” Servais said of Marshall, who had to be helped off the field.
Cano’s home run tied the score 1-1 in the fourth inning. He hit an 0-2 pitch from Darvish over the right-field fence to lead off the bottom of the fourth.
The Rangers’ first run came on what was originally ruled to be a harmless foul ball. With two outs and DeShields on second base in the top of the first inning, Andrus hit a fly ball toward the foul line in right field. Gamel was in position to make the catch but missed the ball, which landed a couple of inches in foul territory.
Replays showed that the ball actually grazed off Gamel’s mitt in fair territory, so after a 2 1/2-minute review the call was overturned and Andrus was awarded a double. That scored DeShields from second base for a 1-0 lead.
Texas was on the winning end of another overturned call in the bottom of the first. A stolen base by Segura was ruled to be a caught-stealing after a 49-second review.
Darvish shut the Mariners out for three innings before Cano led off the fourth with the solo shot.
Gallardo gave up two first-inning hits, including the Andrus double on the misplayed ball in right, before retiring 12 of the next 13 Texas hitters.