Mariners knock off Rangers, 7-1
Offense comes back to life as the Mariners end a two-game losing streak.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle @ Texas, 5:05 p.m., ROOT
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Mariners hope they jettisoned their offensive struggles somewhere on their flight south to Texas.
In the hitter friendly confines of Globe Life Park, a place that’s cured many a slump, the Seattle’s bats came to life on a night when it shouldn’t have been good for hitting.
With temperatures in the mid- to high-40s and winds swirling, the bundled up Mariners felt right at home in the offensive paradise in Arlington, banging out 12 hits and rolling to a 7-1 victory.
The triumph snapped a two-game losing streak. But a longer, more frustrating run was also snapped — a scoreless streak.
“Eventually the odds were in our favor,” manager Lloyd McClendon said with a chuckle.
The Mariners (7-5) came into the game having not scored a run in 17 consecutive innings in two defeats against Oakland.
That streak continued to 21 innings as they struggled to figure out Rangers’ starter Colby Lewis in the first four innings.
Mike Zunino finally ended the run of zeros in the fifth inning. Lewis left a slider up in the strike zone and Zunino hammered it over the wall in center field for his third homer of the year.
“I know we didn’t score a lot of runs,” Zunino said of the recent homestand. “We wanted to come here, relax and swing the bat like we knew how to.”
It was only one run, but it was an important run for the Mariners. The memories of the offensive struggles of the past few seasons aren’t easily forgotten.
“I think we pieced together some good at-bats early and were able to tack on some runs later,” Zunino said.
Those runs came all at once in a deluge an inning later. Robinson Cano led off the sixth with a single and Michael Saunders, who was a first-inning fill-in for Logan Morrison, hammered a triple to left-center with one out to score Cano.
Morrison felt tightness in his hamstring moments before the first pitch and Saunders, who has been a late-inning replacement this season, got the call.
“With the role I’m in, this was more unexpected,” he said. “It shows you have to be ready at all times, especially mentally.”
Kyle Seager followed with a run-scoring single up the middle — his second hit of the night — to end Lewis’ effort with a 3-0 deficit.
The Mariners continued their onslaught against reliever Pedro Figueroa.
Justin Smoak hit a ground ball to third that could have been an inning-ending double play. However, Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was filling for an injured Adrian Beltre, bobbled the ball and everyone was safe on the play. The Mariners made the mistake hurt. Dustin Ackley and Zunino followed with run-scoring singles to push the lead to 5-0.
The inning got worse for the Rangers. Brad Miller hit into an apparent force play at home with bases loaded, but catcher J.P. Arencibia bobbled the ball as he went to throw to first base for the double play. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon challenged the play and the call was overturned based on the new transfer rule. The out at home now counted as a run, making it 6-0. The replay officials ruled that Arencibia didn’t have control of the ball. Rangers’ manager Ron Washington was ejected for arguing the call.
“The rule applies to not only the outfield but the infield as well, that play in particular,” said McClendon, who won a similar challenge earlier this year. “I thought it was a clear violation of the rule. It was an impactful play and we felt we should challenge it.”
Mariners’ starter Roenis Elias gladly accepted all the run support. But he didn’t really need it.
The young lefty turned in his best outing of his brief big league career. He worked 62 / 3 innings, giving up one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts to pick up his first big-league win.
“It’s big,” Elias said through translator and bullpen coach Mike Rojas. “I’m very happy. I dedicate this to my wife and child.”
His wife was still in Mexico, but he called her postgame.
“She was very proud of me,” he said.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @RyanDivish