Surging Mariners roll over Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Seattle Mariners arrived in Texas looking to revive their playoff hopes.
After four games against the Rangers, optimism is on the rise in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mariners took the final three games against their American League West rivals, capped by a 10-4 rout Thursday night at Globe Life Park.
“A great effort by our guys tonight,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “After losing the first game of the series here, kind of regrouping, understanding where we were at. I thought our urgency, our intensity level was right on point the last three nights. Offense is really driving the car right now.”
Seattle (74-73) has won five of its last seven games and sits 3 1/2 games back of the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild card. The Mariners continue their Lone Star State swing with three games at AL West-leading Houston starting Friday.
Nelson Cruz went 4-for-4 with his 33rd home run and drove in two, and Kyle Seager and Yonder Alonso each had three RBIs for the Mariners, who also welcomed back Felix Hernandez.
In his first start since coming off the disabled list, the veteran right-hander was solid despite being on a pitch count. King Felix didn’t go long enough to qualify for the win, but left the game with a 5-1 lead in the fourth.
“He threw strikes,” Servais said. “That was the big thing. Get them in swing mode to kind of keep the pitch count in check to get as much out of him as we could. Was hoping for three innings. We got a little bit more than that. He almost got through the fourth.”
Texas (72-74) is sinking fast in the jumbled wild-card chase after its fifth loss in six games, trailing the Twins by five games.
“We’ve been punched in the mouth,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “We’re not out. We’re going to play to the end.”
The Rangers scored only eight runs in losing the last three games of the series. Seattle scored 28. Texas needed six pitchers in the finale, as Seattle put seven combined runs on the board in the fifth and sixth innings to blow the game open.
“We know what we’re playing for,” said Cruz, who leads the league with 109 RBIs. “It’s about as good as it gets.”
Andrew Cashner (9-10) took the loss after allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings. He had gone 6-2 over his last 11 starts.
“I needed to pitch good today and give us a chance to win, and it just didn’t work out,” Cashner said. “The mentality that we have every day is to show up and win today. Yeah, we needed to win this series. We didn’t.”
The Rangers only managed six hits, but one was Rougned Odor’s three-run homer in the seventh. He drove in all four Texas runs.
Andrew Albers (5-1) picked up the win in relief for Seattle. He threw five innings of three-run ball.
The Mariners jumped on the board in the second after a pair of hard-hit balls off Cashner. Cruz doubled off the wall in left before Seager cleared the fence in right. The two-run shot was Seager’s 25th homer of the season.
Seattle would get two more on before registering an out, but Cashner worked his way out of the jam to keep the score 2-0.
The Rangers got a run back in the bottom of the inning against Hernandez. Joey Gallo, who reached on an opposite-field single away from the shift, scored on Odor’s sacrifice fly.
Hernandez exited with two outs in the fourth after Gallo doubled to left. The former Cy Young Award winner threw 54 pitches in his first start since July 31.
Seattle opened up some breathing room in the fifth on Alonso’s bases-loaded double, which plated all three men on to make it 5-1. Cashner walked Mike Zunino to follow and was yanked by Banister.
Texas opens a nine-game road trip Friday at the Los Angeles Angels.
NOTES: Regular Texas 3B Adrian Beltre returned to the lineup at DH after pinch-hitting Wednesday. He went 1-for-3. Beltre hadn’t started since injuring his hamstring last month. ... Seattle’s Mitch Haniger started his 80th game in right field Thursday, making the Mariners the third team since 1913 with three rookies starting at least 80 games in the outfield. Ben Gamel (113) and Guillermo Heredia (95) are the other two. ... Saturday’s game Mariners-Astros in Houston, originally scheduled as a night game, has been moved to a 1:05 p.m. EDT and will be televised nationally by FOX. ... Rangers C Robinson Chirinos has reached base safely in 28 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors.