ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Adrian Beltre put Seattle ahead with his bat, then kept them there by doing his part on a heads-up defensive play.
Beltre homered twice, including the go-ahead shot in the eighth inning, to lead the Mariners past the short-handed Texas Rangers 7-5 Monday night.
Beltre’s 18th home run, a solo shot, put Seattle on top 6-5. The Rangers looked ready to answer, putting runners on second and third with one out and baseball’s RBI leader Josh Hamilton at the plate.
Beltre saw Ramon Vazquez was a long way down the third-base line, and made eye contact with catcher Kenji Johjima. Hamilton took a pitch, and Johjima made a perfect throw to Beltre to catch Vazquez off third.
“It’s a tough play,” said Beltre, who blocked Vazquez’ path back to third with his foot. “But in that moment we have the best RBI man in baseball up there. Any ground ball or fly ball ties the game.”
Arthur Rhodes struck out Hamilton to preserve Seattle’s lead.
“It was the right time for the call,” Johjima said. “In that situation it’s worth the risk.”
Rangers All-Star shortstop Michael Young could miss up to a week with a small fracture on his right ring finger, which he apparently suffered diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt in the first inning. He is expected to be out of the lineup five to seven days.
Texas was already without third baseman Hank Blalock, who was scratched before the game with an upset stomach.
“It’s a small break,” Young said. “I jammed it. I couldn’t get my hand over the bag, and I slammed it in there.”
Frank Francisco (2-3) allowed Beltre’s homer in the eighth.
Sean Green (3-3) earned the win in relief of Felix Hernandez by picking up the final out in the seventh. Brandon Morrow pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
Hernandez allowed six hits and four runs over six innings. He struck out six and walked four.
Raul Ibanez and rookie Bryan LaHair hit solo homers for the Mariners, who have won two in a row after snapping a seven-game losing streak. Ichiro Suzuki added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
“The guys battled,” Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. “There were big hits and we pitched out of trouble. There was a lot of good stuff out there.”
The Rangers tied the game at 5 in the seventh on David Murphy’s RBI single.
Texas starter Scott Feldman allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Beltre, who is one of a handful of Seattle players who may be traded before the deadline Thursday, got the Mariners going with a three-run homer off Feldman. Beltre has two multi-homer games this season and 18 in his career.
Young hit an RBI single, and Murphy added a run-scoring groundout to cut Seattle’s lead to 3-2 in the first. While running the bases, Young was shaking his hand, then he fielded a grounder in the top half of the second before leaving the game.
LaHair’s first big league homer gave Seattle a 4-2 lead in the second.
The Rangers got within 4-3 in the third on Milton Bradley’s RBI grounder. They tied the game at 4 on Ian Kinsler’s RBI double in the fourth.
But Rangers manager Ron Washington was lamenting Texas’ missed opportunity with Hamilton up in the eighth.
“That will haunt me all night,” Washington said. “We had the best RBI man in the game up at the plate.”
Ibanez, another Mariner rumored to be on the trading block, hit a solo blast in the sixth to put Seattle ahead 5-4.
Suzuki moved within one hit of 3,000 for his professional career. He had 1,278 hits playing in Japan and 1,721 with the Mariners. Suzuki was 1-for-4. … Mariners second baseman Jose Lopez extended his hitting streak to 15 games with two hits. … Hamilton was 1-for-5 and is 8-for-39 since the All-Star break. … The game-time temperature was 101 degrees.