In a reversal of fortunes from a 10-1 loss Saturday night, the Mariners connected at the plate early and often, including a six-run fifth inning, as they defeated the Texas Rangers 9-2 to win the series 2-1 (box score). The Mariners won the season series 12-7 over the Rangers, whose AL West lead over Houston shrunk 1.5 games. Felix Hernandez picked up his 18th win of the season for 5.2 innings of work before leaving with elbow stiffness.
In the fifth, 3B Kyle Seager stepped up with runners at the corners. He pulled a pitch down the right field line, just fair as it rolled to the warning track, scoring both runners for a 4-2 lead. After an intentional walk to home-run crown contender Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano belted a three-run shot to right center, ending Rangers starter Derek Holland’s night.
Franklin Gutierrez added a solo homer in the fifth in the first at-bat after the pitching change. Seager was 3-for-5 and Cano and C Jesus Sucre each had two hits. Seager is hitting .353 (60-for-170) with 29 runs, 17 doubles, seven homers and 27 RBIs in 43 career games in Arlington. His average is highest of any active major leaguer at Globe Life with at least 150 at-bats.
Hernandez (18-9) became the first American League pitcher to 18 wins. He gave up two runs off four hits, including a home run in the second by Keith Moreland, and five walks. Hernandez said the elbow soreness was not a big deal and expects to make his next start. The bullpen gave up no hits or runs over the final 3.1 innings.
Holland (3-3) gave up seven hits and seven runs hits while walking five in 4.1 innings.
Gutierrez’s home run was his 15th in 146 at bats this season, making for a homer every 10.27 plate appearances this season, best in club history (with a minimum of 10 HR), ahead of by Ken Griffey Jr.’s 10.86 in 1997 . . . Canó’s two hits left him three shy of the career 2,000 mark. Canó is on pace to become the 14th player in history to record 2,000 hits in 11 seasons of play.
The Mariners are off Monday as they travel to Kansas City for a three-game series with the Royals starting at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday. Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 3.90 ERA) opens opposite Royals RHP Jeremy Guthrie (8-7, 5.55 ERA).