ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—A fractured finger kept Michael Young out of the Texas Rangers’ starting lineup. By the eighth inning, however, the All-Star shortstop felt well enough to deliver the go-ahead run with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly.
Josh Hamilton hit his team-leading 25th homer and collected his major league-best 104th RBI to help the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Wednesday night.
With the game tied at 3, Seattle reliever Arthur Rhodes (2-1) loaded the bases in the eighth with one-out walks to David Murphy, Hamilton and Marlon Byrd, all on full counts.
Young, limited by his broken right ring finger, lifted a fly ball to center, and Murphy gave the Rangers the lead ahead of Jeremy Reed’s throw.
During the game, Young was in the clubhouse icing the finger, and by the eighth, the swelling had gone down enough for him to swing a bat.
“I saw it was a tie game and put my uniform on,” Young said. “I thought there would be a chance for me to get in the game. I knew it was going to be a tough at-bat. I hadn’t faced him in a couple of years, and he had his way with me early in his career. I was looking for something to get in the air. The guys in front of me had good at-bats and made it all possible.”
Young was making his seventh career pinch-hit appearance and first since Aug. 2, 2002.
“I haven’t really been in that situation,” Young said. “I was pretty jacked up. I made the effort to take some deep breaths to calm down some.”
Neither Young nor Milton Bradley, two of the Rangers’ four All-Stars, was able to start due to injuries.
Young’s finger was stiff when he came to the ballpark, but he told manager Ron Washington he would be available to pinch-hit late in the game. Bradley is slowed by a strained left quad.
Washington wasn’t surprised Young came through in the clutch.
“That’s why he’s a pro and that’s why people in Texas love him,” Washington said. “He goes out there every day and helps his team win ballgames any way he can.”
Brandon Boggs homered for the Rangers, who have won seven of their last nine against the Mariners.
After the go-ahead run scored, Rhodes was being removed from the game by manager Jim Riggleman. As he walked toward the dugout, Rhodes yelled at home plate umpire Paul Nauert because Rhodes didn’t get two close pitches on 3-2 counts, and Nauert ejected Rhodes.
“You’ve got to make your calls out there,” said Rhodes, who’s been the subject of trade rumors. “I’m out there making good pitches, the ball’s going over the plate, you should call it. But I have no comment over that.”
Eddie Guardado (2-2) pitched a perfect eighth for the win, and C.J. Wilson got three outs for his 24th save.
Texas starter Vicente Padilla gave up three runs and 10 hits in seven innings.
Mariners starter Miguel Batista allowed three runs—two earned—and seven hits in six innings.
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Willie Bloomquist and Reed.
Solo homers in the second by Hamilton and Boggs pulled Texas even at 2.
Jose Lopez’s RBI single in the fifth stretched his hitting streak to 17 games and gave Seattle a 3-2 lead.
Texas pulled even at 3 in the sixth with the help of a throwing error by catcher Kenji Johjima. With runners on first and third and two outs, Boggs took off from first on a steal attempt, Johjima threw wildly for an error, and Murphy trotted home from third with the tying run.
Little has gone right for the Mariners this season. Seattle fell to 40-67, the worst record in the AL.
Riggleman refused to pin the loss on a few pitches that weren’t called his team’s way.
“I never like to use (close calls) as a motivational thing,” Riggleman said. “I have too much respect for those umpires to use them as a tool for me to get the team motivated.”
Hamilton was the Texas DH to give his legs a break from playing the outfield. … Rookie RHP Eric Hurley will miss Friday night’s scheduled start for Texas against Toronto due to right biceps tendinitis. The Rangers will call up RHP Tommy Hunter from Triple-A Oklahoma to make his major league debut. Hunter will be the 27th pitcher—and 13th starter—used by the Rangers this season. … Texas rookie Chris Davis made his first major league start at 3B. Davis’ first 26 big-league starts had been at 1B, but with Young out, 3B Ramon Vazquez moved to SS.