Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak at Rangers Ballpark to 14 games with a two-out, ninth-inning, RBI-double that lifted the Mariners a 4-3 victory over AL West-leading Texas Sunday afternoon. Seager, 0-for-3, laced a fastball from closer Joe Nathan into the right-field corner, scoring Endy Chavez. Danny Farquhar then notched his seventh save, enabling Seattle to win its 16th series of the season, 2-1.
The Mariners improved to 57-66 and recorded their seventh win in 16 games against Texas this season. Seattle is 3-3 on the nine-game road trip.
The only downside for Seattle was that starter Erasmo Ramirez did not factor in the decision. The Mariners needed Ramirez to match Texas ace Yu Darvish and the Nicaraguan met the challenge, allowing one earned run on four hits over 7.0 innings.
Ramirez departed with a 3-2 lead and was staring at his fifth consecutive win until Yoervis Medina came on in the eighth, couldn’t locate and gave up a game-tying double to Elvis Andrus.
But Seager put Seattle back in front. Then Farquhar faced the Nos. 4-6 hitters, Couldn’t have gone smoother. He got Adrian Beltre to fly to Michael Saunders in right, A.J. Pierzynski to fly to Raul Ibanez in left and Alex Rios to fly out to Michael Saunders in center. Farquhar needed only eight pitches.
Darvish, who flirted with his second no-hitter in his last start, in which he fanned 15, allowed seven hits and struck out seven. Saunders had a big day against him, accounting for three hits and an RBI.
“Texas always plays tough here,” Saunders told Root Sports. “This was a big series win for us. We got timely hits and our pitching came through for us.”
Dustin Ackley, who had three hits Saturday, added two more Sunday, including a go-ahead RBI-single in the eighth, lifting his average to a season-high .239.
Neither the Mariners nor Rangers could generate anything offensively off Darvish and Ramirez until the fifth when Seattle got two board with no outs. After Saunders and Ackley delivered consecutive singles and Saunders stole third, Chavez hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Saunders for a 1-0 lead. Neither Hemberto Quintero (strikeout) nor Brad Miller (fly ball) could bring in Ackley.
Finally getting to Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski doubled in the fifth with one out, advanced to third on a ground ball and scored on Mitch Moreland’s sacrifice fly.
Nick Franklin drew a walk to start the sixth and came around to score, following a Darvish wild pitch and a walk, on Saunders’ double to right. The Mariners still had runners at second and third, but Ackley couldn’t convert, lining out to Craig Gentry in center.
Two errors, by Seager and Quintero, plus a stolen base, placed Gentry on third with one out in the sixth. Adrian Beltre made Ramirez pay with a single that tied the score 2-2.
The Mariners put themselves in a position to do big damage against Darvish in the seventh when Chavez opened with a four-pitch walk and Quintero singled. But Miller killed the opportunity by hitting into a double play.
The Mariners had another major chance in the eighth when Seager walked on four pitches and Kendrys Morales singled, putting runners on first and second. Darvish struck out Justin Smoak. The Texas ace was done for the day after throwing 120 pitches.
Robbie Ross relieved and induced Saunders to fly to center, but then Ackley knocked a breaking ball back through the box, scoring Seager.
Medina replaced Ramirez in the eighth, issued a walk to Gentry and a double to Andrus that tied the score 3-3.
The Mariners begin a three-game series at Oakland Monday night and will start RHP Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.77) against RHP Jarrod Parker (8-6, 3.77). The Mariners lead the 19-game season series, 8-5. The Mariners are off Thursday off and begin a three-game engagement with the L.A. Angels Friday at Safeco Field.
NOTES: The Mariners gave struggling outfielder Michael Morse the day off Sunday. Morse is hitting .161 in 14 games since coming off the disabled list following a month-long hamstring issue. Endy Chavez took over in right field . . . Dustin Ackley is batting .328 (22×67) with four three-hit games since July 1 . . . The five-run second inning endured by Felix Hernandez Saturday shot his ERA from 2.28 to 2.47, which ranks second in the American League . . . Oliver Perez had a 1.72 ERA in 38 appearances before the All-Star break. In 10 outings since, his ERA in 18.47 with 18 hits and 13 runs allowed in 6.2 innings . . . Franklin Gutierrez is batting .215 in 41 games during an extended rehab stint.