James Paxton and five relievers made three second-inning runs stand up Friday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington for a 3-1 win over the Rangers (box score), new leaders of the American League West. Texas had snapped its five-game winning streak, which included a four-game sweep of former division leader Houston. The Mariners (72-76) are 11-6 against the Rangers, including 5-2 in Arlington. Essential moment
In the eighth with Carson Smith pitching, Adrian Beltre had a leadoff walk and Prince Fielder was safe after his high chopper was lost in the lights by 1B Logan Morrison for an error. Will Venable attempted a sacrifice bunt and missed, but the pitch trickled away from C Jesus Sucre. Beltre broke for third and was called safe. But replay showed that 3B Kyle Seager’s left foot blocked Beltre’s left hand from the bag and was called out. Smith escaped with a strikeout and groundout.
The bullpen had 4.2 innings of scoreless, hitless ball to bail out starter James Paxton, who despite giving up six hits, four walks and two wild pitches in 88 erratic throws, gave up only run — a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to Fielder. Paxton, in his third start after a long injury rehab, helped himself with six strikeouts. The pen, this night including Danny Farquhar, Logan Kensing, Roenis Elias, Smith and Tom Wilhelmsen, came into the game with 16.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Rangers have lost three in a row to the Mariners while scoring one run in the last 27 innings against Seattle.
Ketel Marte’s second-inning double, his first of two, drove in Morrison and Brad Miller, then came home on a single by Kyle Seager. Marte’s ball hugged the left field line so tightly that Rangers manager Jeff Banister loudly complained that it was foul, which led to his ejection.
Seager, Marte, Miller and Mark Trumbo each had two hits and helped chase Texas starter Yovani Gallardo after five innings.
Entering Friday, the Rangers and Mariners had the division’s top two records after the All-Star break. The Rangers were 37-21, Mariners 30-28 Astros 28-28, Angels 26-32 and A’s 22-34 . . . DH Nelson Cruz’s eighth-inning single was his 167th hit of the season, a career high . . . MLBpipeline.com selected RHP Edwin Diaz and OF Tyler O’Neill asthe Mariners’ top pitching and hitting proapects . . . Franklin Gutierrez has hit one home run every 10.69 plate appearances this season (13 in 139 at-bats). That’s the best ratio in Mariners history for any player with 10 or more homers in a season, topping the 10.83 by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1994.
The second game of the series at 5:05 p.m. PT Saturday features Marinera LHP Vidal Nuño (1-2, 3.21) against Rangers ace LHP Cole Hamels (9-8, 3.76).