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It took a little while for them to get going. A three-hour and 13 minute rain delay of sitting around and waiting can make the most energetic of players lethargic. But with most people in bed or wishing they were, the Mariners did what they were supposed to do – beat a bad Rangers’ team and add to their lead in the race for the final American League wild card spot.
Kendrys Morales and Logan Morrison each laced RBI singles into left field to score provide the game-winning run and a game-insuring run in the eighth inning to roll to a 4-2 win over Texas on late Saturday night/early Saturday morning.
It was Seattle’s fifth-straight win. At 78-63, they are now 15 games over .500 for the first time this season. With the Tigers losing to the Giants earlier in the day, the Mariners’ lead for the second wild card spot was pushed to 1.5 games.
So in the end, it was worth the wait.
A thunderstorm warning was issued just before the Mariners were about to take batting practice at about 5:15 p.m. The tarp was brought onto the field at Globe Life Park, which was big since the rain started shortly thereafter and didn’t let up. It varied in its intensity, alternating between downpour and drizzle. The minutes and then hours ticked by.
But officials were confident it would pass. And the Mariners certainly weren’t interested in playing a doubleheader on a getaway Sunday.
The scheduled first pitch of 7:10 p.m. wasn’t happening. The tarp was finally pulled at 9:30 p.m. and first pitch came at 10:18 p.m.
Not surprisingly, the energy level was far from high for either team.
Despite having beat him twice already this season, the Mariners did little against Rangers’ starter Nick Martinez for the first five innings.
And found themselves trailing 2-0 going into the sixth inning thanks to a pair of unearned runs scored off of starter Chris Young.
There were no signs of panic from the Mariners’ dugout and finally signs of life at the plate.
With one out in the sixth inning, Robinson Cano lined a sharp single into right field off Martinez. It was just the fifth hit of the night off of Martinez – all singles. And it easily the hardest hit ball off of Martinez.
But that changed moments later. Kyle Seager jumped on a 1-0 fastball from Martinez, blasting it deep into the right field stands. It was his 23rd homer – a new career-high – and it pushed his season total to 88 RBI, also a career high.
He didn’t want to talk about the accomplishments, saying: “It’s good because we won.”
Of Seager’s 23 homers on the season, four have tied the game and six have the Mariners a lead.
“There’s a lot of people out there that say the don’t believe in clutch,” McClendon said. “But he’s pretty special. It’s a nice feeling having him at the plate with the game on the line.”
Said Logan Morrison: “Seager is unbelievable. He’s been – if not our offensive MVP, then close to it. He’s out there every day. The plays he makes on defense are unbelievable and he makes them look routine. No flash. Just production. Whenever we need a pickup, he’s usually there for us.”
Young was much better than his previous two starts, looking more like the pitcher he was for most of the season. He threw five innings, giving up two unearned runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
The two runs came in the fourth inning. Brad Miller booted a routine ground ball off the bat of Tomas Telis to start the troubles. Young gave up a double to Ryan Rua to score Telis to make it 1-0. The Rangers had Luis Sardinas bunt Rua to third base and Michael Choice scored him with a deep sacrifice fly to center.
“We won the game and that’s my only goal when I pitch,” Young said. “I certainly wasn’t very satisfied with my previous start. I wanted to contribute to a win and the guys picked me up. It’s a good overall effort, especially on a tough night.”
Did the delay bother him?
“I tried to stay locked in,” Young said. “But just the uncertainty of no knowing when you are going to go out there presents a different challenge. It’s not my first one, hopefully it won’t be my last.”
With Young at 95 pitches after five innings, McClendon went to his bullpen. Carson Smith and Charlie pitched combined to overcome a swinging bunt and bloop single to pitch a scoreless sixth inning.
Danny Farquhar (2-1) followed with two innings of scoreless relief for the Mariners and got the win in relief.
With a nice three-run cushion, Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless ninth inning to notch his 43rd save. He’s now two away from the club record held by Kazuhiro Sasaki.
Dustin Ackley left the game with a jammed left ankle. It’s the same ankle he had surgery on to remove bone spurs. Those bone spurs are slowly growing back and have given him issues from time to time this season.
With lefty, Derek Holland pitching, Ackley will get tomorrow off.