Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Mariners 3 (10)
SEATTLE -- Ignored, Ian Kinsler alertly stole third then scored on a two-out balk, and the Texas Rangers overcame a shaky start from Derek Holland. The offense mostly snoozed following a three-run second, but Texas hung in to beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 in 10 innings Tuesday night at Safeco Field.
Joe Nathan allowed a hit and a walk but got Michael Saunders to ground into a force play to finish the bottom of the 10th for his 38th save in 40 chances, as Texas stole a win in a weird way.
Race for West isn’t altered: The Rangers’ third victory in five games on this trip that began at the Chicago White Sox, kept them 2½ games ahead of the Oakland Athletics atop the American League West. That has been Texas’ division lead at the end of four consecutive days now. The A’s won again at Detroit on Tuesday.
Kinsler creates winning run: Plate umpire CB Bucknor seemed to owe Texas one in the 10th. He called Elvis Andrus out for running out of the baseline to the inside of the line as Seattle reliever Danny Farquhar threw to first on Andrus’ leadoff squibber. After manager Ron Washington came out to argue, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre each singled.
Kinsler then noticed Farquhar wasn’t looking at him as he took his lead from second base, so he sped to third for an easy steal. With two outs, he scored when Bucknor called Farquhar for a flinch-and-stop move before pitching. Then it was Seattle manager Eric Wedge’s turn to bark at Bucknor.
Scheppers blows away weird rally: Rangers reliever Neal Cotts began the bottom of the ninth by allowing a single to Saunders. Dustin Ackley then squared to bunt. Cotts charged toward home, but Ackley’s bunt was popped up over the mound where no Ranger was. The odd, infield single put two on with no outs.
Washington summoned eight-hander Tanner Scheppers (6-2) to face right-handed Humberto Quintero. Quintero also popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, but into the glove of first baseman Mitch Moreland. Scheppers then blew away pinch hitter Nick Franklin and fellow rookie Brad Miller consecutively with 96-mph fastballs to send the game to the 10th.
Holland-daze: Pitching with an extra day’s rest, Holland was off. He walked his first batter on five pitches and allowed the leadoff man to reach base in each of the first four innings.
With the Rangers leading 3-2 leading off the bottom of the third, catcher A.J. Pierzynski set his glove low and inside; but Holland’s 1-0 pitch was centered and belt high to Franklin Gutierrez. Holland looked away in disgust as Gutierrez, in his second game off the disabled list, sent the mistake just past the leap and glove of Leonys Martin and over the center-field wall for a tying home run.
The game remained even until Kinsler’s dash and gift run.
Holland lasted six innings, allowing three hits and three earned runs. His four walks were his most in a start in six weeks.
Opportunity lost: Kinsler singled leading off the eighth, then Yoervis Medina hit Beltre with a 94-mph fastball in his back below the left shoulder. Pierzynski popped out on the next pitch, then Alex Rios grounded into a rally-ending double play.
Martin looks good: Martin was leading off and playing in center field for the first time since he injured his right ankle in an outfield collision on Saturday. The heavily taped ankle looked fine when he sprinted back and jumped off it in vain pursuit of Gutierrez’s homer. In the fourth, he ran from right-center field to left-center and onto the warning track for a catch of a drive by Humberto Quintero. In Martin’s past 24 starts in the leadoff spot, the Rangers are 20-4.
Up next: Martin Perez (7-3, 3.62 ERA) will try to set Texas rookie records with his fifth win in August and a win in his fifth consecutive start. He’s going to have to beat Seattle All-Star ace Felix Hernandez (12-7, 2.63) to do it in final game of the Rangers’ six-game road trip Wednesday at 2:40 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.