The Mariners used a six-run eighth inning to cruise to a 10-3 win over the Texas Rangers Tuesday night at the Ballpark in Arlington, snapping a five-game losing skid and a streak of atrocious hitting along the way.
Seattle collected 14 hits, going 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position and scoring four unearned runs, while matching a season high for runs scored. Jason Vargas improved his record to 6-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.45 with 6.2 innings of five-hit, three-run ball.
John Jaso continued his bid for more playing time. He gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead in the second by blasting Scott Feldman’s hanging curve over the centerfield fence with Kyle Seager aboard. Jaso was 2-for-5 with three RBIs to raise his average to .243.
The backup catcher admitted in a post game interview with ROOT Sports that he didn’t mind getting away from the unfriendly hitting confines of Safeco Field. As a team, the Mariners bat just .193 at home.
“Maybe it is the heat or something,” he said of his team’s increased offensive production in Texas. “I played a little bit of instructional league and a couple of extended (spring trainings) in my time, so I’m used to playing in the heat . . . It was great to have all our bats rolling today.”
Clinging to a 4-3 lead after Josh Hamilton cut the Mariners’ leadd to one with a two-run home run in the sixth, the Seattle offense showed some explosiveness for the first time in nearly a week. Seager led off the eighth against Alexi Ogando by smashing his third hit of the game, a double off the top of the right field fence. Smoak followed by lining a single into left.
With runners on the corners, Jaso came through again to extend the lead to 5-3 with a g base hit into right. Saunders collected his second of three hits by doing the same to load the bases.
With the infield in, Brendan Ryan worked the count full before slapping a ground ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who bobbled the transfer, allowing Ryan to reach safely and Smoak to score from third.
Dustin Ackley and Mike Carp piled on the damage with back-to-back singles to tack on two more runs for a sudden 8-3 advantage. The Mariners added a sacrifice fly, then a run on a passed ball before the Texas bullpen finally recorded the third out of the inning.
Even the recently cantankerous Eric Wedge sounded pleased with his young team.
“Even with a lot of the outs we made I felt really good about our approach up and down the lineup tonight,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about. It’s not just because we put that eighth inning together . . . the at-bats that we had throughout the course of the ball game put (us) in a position to do that when the opportunity arises. I was really pleased.”