Off to the best start of his career, Robinson Cano cracked two more home runs and the Mariners, trailing 5-4 entering the ninth inning, rallied for five runs on six hits to defeat the Texas Rangers 9-5 Wednesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. (box). Seattle had nine home runs during the three-game series (11 MLB teams have yet to hit one), four by Cano, who produced five RBIs in the series-ender.
The Mariners held leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but fell behind 5-3 on a three-run, upper-deck bomb by Prince Fielder in the sixth, victimizing starter Wade Miley. The Mariners took a run back in the seventh when Cano walked with the bases loaded, then in the ninth scorched Texas closer Shawn Tolleson. Nori Aoki, pinch-hitting, and Ketel Marte opened with singles. Leonys Martin drove home Aoki with a double and Kyle Seager followed with a two-run single for a 7-5 lead. Cano then cranked his second homer that helped seal a 2-1 series win.
Cano’s four hits in the series were homers. He is the first second baseman to homer in each of his team’s first three games since Bobby Doerr of the Boston Red Sox in 1941. He’s also the first Mariner, regardless of position, to homer in the first three games of a season. Cano didn’t hit his fourth last year until June 26, Seattle’s 74th game. Cano’s five RBIs mark a career high with Seattle . . . With Aoki ailing (see below), Martin, a former Ranger, started in the leadoff spot and went 3-for-5, including a home run in the second inning . . . Marte, batting ninth, broke out of a 0-for-10 slide with three hits, including a single in the ninth . . . The Mariners had 14 hits and went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position after starting the game 0-for-5 (2-for-2 in the ninth inning).
Miley, making his Seattle debut, worked six innings. He allowed five runs, all earned, on five hits. His biggest mistake came when Fielder jumped a middle-of-the-plate slider in the sixth. After Miley allowed four consecutive hits in the fifth, in the sixth he struck out the side. Miley threw 91 pitches, 66 for strikes . . . Nick Vincent, who picked up the victory Tuesday night in relief, took over for Miley in the seventh and needed only 10 pitches to complete the inning . . . Joaquin Benoit also made his Mariners debut in the eighth, earning the victory with a scoreless frame despite two walks . . . Seattle’s bullpen worked nine innings in the series and didn’t allow a run.
“It’s fun watching this come together. Just a really nice job offensively. But the key to the game, I thought, was our bullpen. We hung in there and hung in there, and this one was really fun. Robby (Cano) looks great. He’s seeing the ball really good. In the ninth, we hit the ball in the right spots and that’s what you need to win a big game on the road. The whole club is producing.” — manager Scott Servais
“I feel good. Yes, this is probably the best start (to a season) I’ve ever had. I work with Edgar (Martinez) every single day. We are a different team than last year. We can compete with anyone. All we have to do is stay healthy.” — Cano
Aoki sat out most of Wednesday’s game after fouling a pitch off his shin during Tuesday night’s 10-2 victory . . .The Mariners Wednesday outrighted C Rob Brantly to AAA Tacoma. The 26-year-old, claimed off waivers from the White Sox March 26, had been designated for assignment when the club set its Opening Day roster April 3 . . . Servais gave C Chris Iannetta the day off, replacing him with Steve Clevenger, who went 0-for-3.
The Mariners are off Thursday and play their home opener Friday at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field against the Oakland Athletics. RHP Taijuan Walker will start for Seattle opposite RHP Chris Bassitt of the A’s.