Surging Rangers beat Seattle again

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Ramon Vazquez hurt the Seattle Mariners for the second straight night—this time with a flyball that stayed in the park.

Vazquez drove in the go-ahead run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly and the surging Texas Rangers beat Seattle 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Vazquez went deep in the 10th inning Monday night to give the Rangers a 13-12 victory over the Mariners in the opener of the three-game series. He finished with two RBIs Tuesday night as Texas won for the 12th time in 14 games.

“Yesterday we needed to score 13 runs,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Tonight we needed three but got five. Any situation that presented itself offensively, we did it.”

Gerald Laird hit a leadoff single against Seattle starter Felix Hernandez in the sixth, and took second when left fielder Raul Ibanez bobbled the ball for an error.

Laird, who went 2-for-3 and reached base four times, advanced to third on Chris Shelton’s sacrifice and scored on Vazquez’s flyball to left to put Texas in front 3-2.

Vazquez added an RBI single in the eighth and Ian Kinsler followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.

Vazquez also made a diving catch near the foul line on Adrian Beltre’s line drive to end the seventh, and Josh Hamilton came up with a nice running catch near the center-field wall to deny Kenji Johjima’s bid for extra bases in the eighth.

“Each time they made them was at an important point of the game,” Washington said. “If they don’t make them, something bad happens. There was defense everywhere. They were very good.”

Josh Rupe (2-1) allowed one hit in 1 2-3 scoreless innings and Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his first save since Aug. 12, 2006, for the Cincinnati Reds.

The Mariners, losers of 12 of 14, committed four errors.

“It puzzles me a lot because it’s one of the big strengths of our club,” manager John McLaren said of his team’s defense. “When we try to build around our pitching, we need our defense. We can’t be giving away four outs. When you give them extra opportunities, it changes the whole complexion of the game.”

Rangers starter Kason Gabbard allowed two runs and five hits over 5 1-3 innings five nights after Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson charged the mound and flung his helmet at Gabbard to touch off a bench-clearing brawl in Seattle.

“I was just happy to make it past the fifth inning,” Gabbard said. “Everything felt good tonight.”

Sexson sat out Tuesday night, serving the fourth of his five-game suspension.

Hernandez (2-4) allowed two earned runs and six hits in six innings, losing his fourth straight start. He walked five and struck out three.

Seattle pushed across two runs in the sixth. Jose Lopez hit a sacrifice fly and Johjima doubled in a run to tie it at 2.

Before the season, the Mariners were projected as playoff contenders on the strength of their starting pitching. But inconsistent pitching, sloppy defense and a lack of clutch hitting have contributed to a poor start that has left Seattle (15-26) with the worst record in the AL.

“Obviously it’s not fun to be losing,” designated hitter Jeff Clement said. “It’s tough to be happy when things aren’t going well. We’ve got to continue grinding through it, realize it’s a long season, and figure it out before too long.”

Notes

The Rangers pulled within a game of .500 (20-21) for the first time since April 12 when they were 5-6. … Seattle DH Jose Vidro missed the game with back spasms. … Texas got its sixth consecutive series win, the most since taking seven straight from July 15-Aug. 4, 1999.


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