Rangers 8, Mariners 5
(Arlington, TX) It has been almost 30 years since the Seattle Mariners have had as important of a ten-game stretch as they do right now. Game one of those ten games took place Friday night in Arlington as Seattle looked to find a way to slow down their kryptonite in the Texas Rangers. Those Rangers have absolutely mashed Mariner pitching so far this season and it has been even worse at Globe Life Field. Trends would not change on Friday as Texas jumped on rookie Bryce Miller early and just fended off a late Mariner run as Seattle dropped the opener of the three-game set, 8-5.
Shohei Ohtani has kind of ended the always enjoyable MVP race but if there is anyone with a serious argument to steal the award from the two-way sensation, it is Corey Seager. The Texas shortstop added to his argument early in this one. After getting Marcus Semien to fly out to deep center, Bryce Miller tried to steal a first pitch strike with a fastball over the heart of the plate. Seager was having none of it. The lefty crushed his 32nd home run of the season 402-feet. Another quick strike from the Rangers had the Mariners behind early 1-0.
It wasn’t just the big name guys getting the job done for Texas. Young, unproven guys also have been able to just rake against Mariner pitching. In the bottom of the 2nd, Jonah Heim led off the inning with a single into center. After a Mitch Garver strikeout for the first out, Leody Taveras also singled to put runners on first and second. In stepped Evan Carter who had never faced the Seattle Mariners in his young career. His first hit would do a lot of damage to the M’s and their fans. Carter ripped a line drive that sailed over the wall in right field. It was Carter’s third home run of the season and the three-run blast opened things up as Texas had a 4-0 lead.
While Miller settled down for a couple of innings, the offense just could not get anything going. Finally, things would begin to turn real ugly for the Mariners. In the bottom of the 5th, Miller walked Evan Carter and gave up a single to Corey Seager to put runners on the corners with one out. Scott Servais had to turn to his bullpen early and brought in lefty Tayler Saucedo to try to escape the jam. Saucedo would get one out as Nathaniel Lowe hit into a 3-6 fielder’s choice, but Seattle couldn’t turn the double play and Carter scored to make it 5-0. A single for Josh Jung and a walk to Adolis Garcia ended up loading the bases as Saucedo and the M’s continued to search for the third out. A free pass and run was given when Saucedo walked Jonah Heim to score another run, making it 6-0. Trent Thornton then came in but did not fare any better. A single by Mitch Garver scored two more and while Thornton would get Taveras to fly out for the final out, the damage was already done. A four spot for the Rangers had busted things wide open as the Rangers had a commanding 8-0 lead.
Of course, these Mariners never give up. In the top of the 6th, they made the Rangers realize that the game was still far from over. Dane Dunning had carved up the Mariner lineup until this inning. A single for J.P. Crawford and a scary hit by pitch for Julio Rodriguez had runners on first and second with nobody out. Julio stayed in the game and Cal Raleigh made sure he could take an easy stroll around the bases. Raleigh sent a 1-1 hanging changeup out into the Texas bullpen for a three-run bomb to give the Mariners some life. The 30th home run of the season for the Mariner catcher had the M’s on the board, still trailing 8-3.
The M’s weren’t done yet in the 6th. A single by Eugenio Suarez chased Dunning and brought in Chris Stratton from the Ranger bullpen. He would walk Jarred Kelenic and strike out Ty France. With runners on first and second and two outs, Stratton would allow a Dominic Canzone single to load the bases with two down. Josh Rojas walked to score a run and make it 8-4 and with the bases loaded, the Mariners sent the tying run to the plate in J.P. Crawford. Texas would bring in another reliever in Andrew Heaney. It took one pitch to decide the outcome of the at-bat as Crawford grounded out to Seager at short to leave the bases loaded and end the inning.
8-4 was still the score heading into the top of the 9th. Texas closer Aroldis Chapman came in to try to close out the game. A single for J.P. Crawford and a double for Cal Raleigh had runners on second and third with one out and Seattle had a pulse. Chapman would strikeout Teoscar Hernandez for a big second out and it dealt a big blow to the Mariner rally. All hope was not lost as Suarez singled to score Crawford and make it 8-5. With runners on the corners and two outs, Jarred Kelenic walked to load the bases for Ty France. France represented the go-ahead run. On the first pitch he saw, France hit a grounder on the left side. Third baseman Josh Jung made a sliding stop and threw out France at first to deny the comeback bid. Seattle fought hard, but came up short as the Mariners started this ten-game stretch with an 8-5 loss to Texas.
With the loss, Seattle (84-69) are now on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. The M’s sit half a game behind Houston for the final Wild Card, 1 1/2 behind Toronto for the second Wild Card, and one game behind Texas for the lead in the AL West. The Mariners and Texas Rangers (85-68) will continue their big three-game series when the teams meet in game two on Saturday at 4:05pm. Seattle will turn to Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.77 ERA) who was phenomenal down the stretch last season for the Mariners. In 36 innings pitched in September last season, Gilbert allowed just eight runs with five of those coming in one five inning outing. Jordan Montgomery (9-11, 3.38 ERA) will try to help out his new team down the stretch. Montgomery has been very good since being acquired by Texas from St. Louis at the Trade Deadline and has just allowed one run in his last 14 innings pitched.
- Cal Raleigh- 2-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R
- Eugenio Suarez- 2-5, RBI, R
- Bryce Miller (L, 8-6)- 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO
- Evan Carter- 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB
- Corey Seager- 2-4, HR, RBI, R
- Dane Dunning (W, 11-6)- 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO