SEATTLE (AP) — After winning six of seven on the road, the Seattle Mariners have hit a rough stretch at home.
The latest bump came against the Texas Rangers, who scored the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning to beat the Mariners 4-3 Saturday night to hand Seattle its fifth straight loss – all at home.
“We are in a funk and we’ve got to find a way to come out of it,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We had a lot of good things happen tonight but the one bad thing is we didn’t the win.”
The Mariners almost did enough to snap the losing streak after fighting back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the score in the seventh, but weren’t able to take advantage with runners in scoring position to take a late lead.
Instead, it was Texas’ Leonys Martin who found a way to get the job done. With two outs in the ninth and two strikes on him, Martin hit a grounder just past the glove of a diving Kyle Seager at third base, driving in Luis Sardinas.
Sardinas singled off Fernando Rodney (1-3) with one out and moved to second on a grounder before Martin’s single scored him without a play at the plate to give the Rangers the 4-3 lead.
The Mariners tied the game in the seventh after taking advantage of a Rangers fielding gaffe. With two runners on and one out, Cole Gillespie hit a grounder to second that looked like it could turn into an inning-ending double play. Elvis Andrus couldn’t handle the throw at second, though, and Seattle loaded the bases.
Robinson Cano followed with a soft line drive to right, scoring Willie Bloomquist and tying the score 3-all.
Despite giving up the single to Cano, Neal Cotts (2-3) earned the win with 1 2-3 innings of relief, striking out four. Joakim Soria pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
The Mariners’ late run spoiled a win for Joe Saunders, who was in line for his first victory of the season after allowing two runs in six innings.
“For me, it’s about getting deeper into games,” said Saunders, who made his fourth start of the season after coming off the disabled list. “I felt like I had good stuff tonight, could’ve been better. So it’s still, in my mind, a little bit of a work in progress. But made some good strides tonight.”
Shin-Soo Choo singled off reliever Danny Farquhar to open the sixth and scored when Adrian Beltre followed with a double into the left-field corner, tying the game 1-1. After a pair of strikeouts, Robinson Chirinos put Texas ahead with a two-run home run to left field.
“Danny has been great for us,” McClendon said. “He just left a curveball up and the guy took advantage of it. Our bullpen is our foundation. We’ve done everything we can to take care of it and we’ll continue to do that.”
Farquhar came on for Erasmo Ramirez, who had skirted danger in five scoreless innings. Ramirez allowed just three hits, but struggled with his command and walked four. The right-hander allowed seven base runners and threw 89 pitches.
The Mariners pushed across a run in the fifth when Stefen Romero hit a sacrifice fly to left to score John Buck from third. Buck led off the inning with a single and moved to third when Seager followed with a base hit. The run snapped a 13-inning scoreless streak for the Mariners.
NOTES: Sunday’s series finale will feature Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma and Rangers RHP Nick Martinez. … The umpires reviewed four calls: two in the first, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. Martin was originally called safe in an attempt to steal second, but it was overturned. A 2-2 count to Beltre was also reviewed, and upheld. A ruling that Cano was safe at home in the sixth was confirmed. Andrus was originally called out at first in the seventh after being involved in a rundown, but the call was reversed. … Seattle’s Jesus Montero, a former top prospect, made his first appearance since being suspended 50 games for his connection to the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug investigation last year. Montero, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday, singled in three at-bats as the DH.