Kyle Seager ripped a two-run homer in the top of the eighth, Yoervis Medina recorded a clutch, bottom-of-the-inning strikeout of Ian Kinsler and Danny Farquhar threw a perfect ninth as the Mariners held on for an improbable 3-1 victory over the Rangers at Texas Friday night. Seattle snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 2-2 on its nine-game road trip.
The late-inning heroics saved Hisashi Iwakuma’s 11th victory and bailed out his replacement, Oliver Perez, who made an utter mess of things when he took over.
Iwakuma had worked seven nearly flawless innings, allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. He departed with a 2-1 lead after Seager broke an 0-for-21 free fall with his 18th home run. Until Seager’s blow, it appeared Iwakuma would be saddled with another no-decision.
Perez entered in the eighth and walked Craig Gentry on four pitches. Then he plunked Leonys Martin. Acting manager Robby Thompson had seen enough and summoned Medina to face Elvis Andrus, who did what he does best, sacrificing Gentry and Martin to second and third with one out.
That brought Kinsler to the plate and Medina won the battle with a strikeout for the second out. The Mariners wanted no part of former Mariner Adrian Beltre, batting .325 with 25 home runs, and issued a free pass. Thompson brought in Charlie Furbush to face A.L. Pierzynski with the sacks full. Furbush, a late-inning failure numerous times, got Pierzynski to pop to Seager at third.
After Justin Smoak hit his 14th home run in the top of the ninth, Farquhar, who blew his first save in Tampa two nights ago, induced Alex Rios to ground out, then fanned Mitch Moreland and Jurickson Profat to end it.
Until Seager’s homer, the Mariners hadn’t done much against Texas starter Derek Holland, who had a no-hitter going through 5.1 innings and seemed well on his way to his ninth career win against Seattle, even though he had only a 1-0 lead, that coming on Pierzynski’s run-scoring single in the fourth.
But Iwakuma allowed nothing after that, ending up with his first win since July 25 against Minnesota. He lowered his ERA to 2.95 against a Rangers club that entered having won nine out of 10.
The Mariners, who improved to 56-65 overall and to 9-5 against the division-leading Rangers, evened their record at 13-13 since the All-Star break.
Seager extended his hitting streak to 12 games at Rangers Ballpark. Smoak has hit in 13 of his last 15 games. Farquhar notched his sixth save in nine chances. Perez, presumably, is awaiting punitive action by the Mariners’ kangaroo court.
The second of three is Saturday at 5:10 p.m. Felix Hernandez (12-5, 2.28) will face LHP Martin Perez (5-3, 3.44). The Mariners missed Texas ace Yu Darvish the last time the club met, but will face him Sunday in the series ender.
NOTES: Raul Ibanez is the first Mariner to hit 25 home runs in a season since 2009, when Russell Branyan had 31 and Jose Lopez 25 . . . Mike Zunino, sidelined for three weeks with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, started swinging a bat this week. The Mariners hope Zunino will be able to rejoin the club for the last month of the season . . . Saturday’s game will be aired on 770 AM and 104.5 FM in the Seattle area instead of the normal 710 ESPN Seattle due to a conflict with the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Denver Broncos.