By CHRIS TALBOTT Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — The Texas Rangers had a reliable scouting report on the division-rival Mariners.
“I think that their bullpen has a lot of talent, but they’re having a little bit of trouble putting matchups together,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said.
When Seattle took the ball away from starter Wade LeBlanc on Wednesday, the Rangers knew things could soon get interesting — and they were right.
Texas rallied twice late during an 8-7 win that featured four lead changes, two blown saves and yet another brutal day defensively for the Mariners, who committed three errors and a wild pitch in one inning.
LeBlanc handed over a 4-3 lead after five innings with the help of Tim Beckham’s two-run home run in the fourth.
His replacement, Jesse Biddle, struck out the first batter he faced, but then flubbed Nomar Mazara’s comebacker for one error and threw the ball away for another, allowing Mazara to reach second. Mazara got to third on a wild pitch while Biddle walked Cabrera, setting up Rougned Odor’s RBI single and Ronald Guzmán’s sacrifice fly for a 5-4 Rangers lead.
Austin Adams relieved Biddle, threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt but evaded further damage by striking out Jeff Mathis.
The trio of errors brought the Mariners’ season total to 63. No other team in the major leagues has reached 50.
Yet the Mariners still had a chance to win, even after Shin-Soo Choo’s pinch-hit, two-run single tied it at 7 in the eighth inning.
Instead, with two outs in the ninth, left fielder Domingo Santana got turned around on Mazara’s third hit, letting it bounce off the wall for a double. Cabrera followed that with another two-base hit to push the winning run across.
“It’s a play I think he would agree he should have got,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said of Santana.
The Mariners wasted a home run by Mitch Haniger that put them up 7-5 and sent four relievers to the mound. They gave up seven hits and both walks the Mariners issued, while Biddle and the team’s most reliable reliever, Roenis Elias, earned blown saves. Anthony Bass (0-1) took the loss.
“We felt really good about our shot there,” Servais said. “We had a two-run lead with six outs to go. We should’ve locked that down.”
Texas’ Jesse Chavez (1-1) earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief one day after serving as an opener. He helped propel the Rangers to two rare road wins, pushing their total to 10 this season. They’ve now won 7 of 8 against the Mariners after losing two straight to start the season.
“We feel like we should win,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We just keep fighting. That’s a great thing, that your ballclub resembles that kind of fight, no quit, day game after a night game. It’s easy with two outs, nobody on right there, to just kind of pack it in, but these guys don’t. They’re prepared, they’re ready.”
Rangers: Woodward held Joey Gallo out of the game as a precaution after he injured his wrist swinging a bat Tuesday night. Woodward said X-rays didn’t show significant injury, and the slugger is day to day. “If I were to bet, I’d say he’d probably play tomorrow,” Woodward said. … The Rangers promoted outfielder Zack Granite from Triple-A Nashville for roster flexibility with Choo scheduled off as well. Relief pitcher Kyle Bird was sent down to Nashville.
Mariners: SS J.P. Crawford avoided serious injury when he rolled his left ankle Tuesday night and could return to the field “in a couple of weeks,” Servais said. Crawford, on crutches in the clubhouse Wednesday, was placed on the 10-day injured list. The Mariners recalled utility player Dylan Moore from Triple-A Tacoma. Moore has appeared in 29 games this season, playing infield, outfield and pitcher. … 2B Dee Gordon (wrist bruise) and 3B/DH Ryon Healy (back) are ready to begin baseball activities after sitting out with their injuries, Servais said.
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (5-3, 2.55 ERA), 3-1 in his last four starts, opens a homestand against Kansas City.
Mariners: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (3-2, 3.82 ERA) makes the home start in a much anticipated matchup against the Los Angeles Angels and his fellow Japanese countryman Shohei Ohtani.