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April 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Rangers, April 14: Mariners win, 4-3

firstpitch0414

A nice comeback win for the Mariners as Brandon Maurer gets his first major-league victory, saved by Tom Wilhelmsen with a 1-2-3 ninth. Only downside was injury to Stephen Pryor.

RANGERS EIGHTH: Oliver Perez stranded runners at first and third, but a potentially damaging inning, because Stephen Pryor, who has been lights out all year, had to leave with what has been diagnosed as a right lat strain. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow. 4-3 Mariners.

MARINERS SIXTH: Maurer, replaced by LaFromboise to start 7th, will get a chance to pick up his first major-league win as the Mariners take lead with two runs. Montero and Ackley had RBI singles after a double by Seager. 4-3 Mariners

RANGERS SIXTH: Win or lose, this is the outing the Mariners hoped to get from Maurer. He rebounded from difficult fifth inning to retire Texas in order quickly, including his fifth strikeout (Soto). 3-2 Rangers.

RANGERS FIFTH: Maurer nearly worked his way out of a one-out triple by Garcia, but the Rangers wound up scoring two to take the lead. Garcia was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to second by Andrus. Andrus stole second, Maurer hit Gentry, and Berkman grounded a single to right on a 3-2 pitch (on which Smoak broke to the bag rather than head a few feet the other direction to glove the ball). A passed ball brought in Gentry with the go-ahead run on the pitch before Maurer got out of the inning. 3-2  Rangers

MARINERS FOURTH: Seattle moves ahead on Ibanez’s second homer of the season, but strand runners on the corners when Ackley grounds out to second. 2-1 Mariners.

RANGERS FOURTH: Another test passed by Maurer, who gives up a one-out double to Cruz, then strands him at third by striking out Soto. 1-1

RANGERS THIRD: A very strong 1-2-3 inning for Maurer, who was facing the top of the Texas order. He’s given up two hits and a run, with three strikeouts, through three. Nothing like the guy who was lit up in his first two starts. 1-1

MARINERS SECOND: The M’s got the run back on a one-out double by Smoak — his first extra-base hit in his 45th at-bat — and scored on Seager’s double off the wall. But Montero grounded out and Ackley popped out. 1-1

RANGERS SECOND: Mitch Moreland’s two-out double gives the Rangers a run, but Maurer still looks much better.

RANGERS FIRST: Maurer desperately needed a smooth first, and he got it. He got Andrus on a ground out, struck out Gentry on 94 mph heat, walked Berkman and then struck out Adrian Beltre. So far, so good.

Obviously, this is a critical start for Brandon Maurer, who can’t afford another stinker if he expects to stay in the major leagues. Through two starts, he has a 16.20 ERA (12 earned runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings), and opponents are hitting .469 off him. Mariners manager Eric Wedge just hopes he can relax enough to show the stuff that allowed him to make the team in the first place.

“Carl had a good bullpen with him,” he said. “We saw what everyone else saw. He’s just getting ahead of himself, throwing through pitches. He’s had a start on the road, he’s had a start at home. He’s gone through some things he’s needed to go through. Hopefully, he can go out today and settle in a little bit.

“He doesn’t need to feel like he has to go out there and throw nine innings, or throw a shutout, or even seven or eight innings. Just go out there and give your teammates a chance to win the ballgame. That’s all we ask any of our guys to do. He doesn’t need to feel like he needs to do more than that.”

 

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