The Mariners (24-17) played without the suspended Robinson Cano, their No. 3 hitter, their rock at second base. He’s gone until mid-August. The Mariners then lost their cleanup hitter in the fourth when Nelson Cruz was hit in his right foot by an 85-mph slider.
Right foot contusion. X-rays negative.
And with that official injury update, provided on Nelson Cruz’s behalf at 8:55 p.m. Tuesday, as the sun was setting on one of the worst days in the club’s recent history, the Seattle Mariners were able to exhale.
Almost three hours later, they also were able to salvage a devastating day by completing a 9-8 victory over the Texas Rangers, with Guillermo Heredia delivering the game-winning hit in the 11th inning to score Ryon Healy from second base at Safeco Field.
With one out, Healy singled to right and catcher David Freitas beat out an infield hit between third and short to set up Heredia’s heroics with one out.
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The Mariners (24-17) played without the suspended Robinson Cano, their No. 3 hitter, their rock at second base. He’s gone until mid-August. The Mariners then lost their cleanup hitter in the fourth inning when Cruz was hit on his right foot by an 85-mph slider from Rangers reliever Brandon Mann.
Cruz hobbled toward first base, then had to be helped off the field, and out of the game, with one arm around manager Scott Servais, one arm around trainer Matt Toth, as one city held its collective breath.
As painful as that scene appeared, there soon arrived some encouraging news: no broken bones.
He is scheduled to be re-evaluated Wednesday.
“He has a bad bone bruise, which is really good news,” Servais said. “After seeing him get hit by the pitch, and his inability to put any weight on the foot, it was really scary for me and for him. But he had X-rays, and they were negative. He’s going to be out a day or two, no doubt, but everybody knows his pain tolerance. He can usually play through a lot.”
For one night, anyway, the offense did enough in Cano’s absence.
Servais wasn’t around to see the extra innings. He was ejected in the ninth inning while arguing a bizarre play at first base that allowed the Rangers to score the tying run off closer Edwin Diaz.
With a Jurickson Profar on second base, Diaz had hustled to first to field a throw from Healy and complete a 3-1 putout of Joey Gallo. As Diaz turned to try throw home to catch a speeding Profar, he made brief contact with Gallo beyond first base and dropped the ball — allowing Profar to dive home to tie the score at 8-8.
Servais threw his hat to the dirt while arguing, unsuccessfully, that Gallo should have been called for interference.
Heredia’s game-winning hit, the second of his career, came off Rangers reliever Alex Claudio in the 11th; it came some 21 hours after the Mariners’ team plane landed back in Seattle at 3 a.m. Tuesday following Monday’s late game in Minnesota; and it came at the end of a long, emotional day for the club.
“It was a huge game because those (Cano and Cruz) are two important pieces of our lineup,” Heredia said through bench coach Manny Acta, acting as a Spanish interpreter. “Despite all the sadness around here, the guys were able to pull it together.”
Jean Segura had a difficult time processing Cano’s suspension after Cano, a close friend, called him Tuesday morning with the news.
“He called me this morning (and) woke me up. It was sad news,” Segura said. “I mean, I wasn’t able to eat (until) 4:30; nothing (could) get through my stomach. Feel bad, feel sad, feel frustrated like everybody else here. I can’t explain how bad I feel. …
“It’s going to be a tough break for us. We’re going to continue grinding. We’ve got some great guys here. We demonstrated today that with Nellie out and Robbie out we can do some damage.”
Segura finished 3 for 5 and tied a club record with four steals. He drove in a go-ahead run with a solid single off Rangers reliever Jose Leclerc in the eighth inning, scoring. Gordon Beckham, Cano’s replacement at second base, to give the M’s an 8-7 lead.
Erik Goeddel (2-0) threw two no-hit innings of relief to earn the win, throwing 46 pitches and working around three walks.
Kyle Seager had given the Mariners a 5-3 lead in the third when he hit a 93-mph fastball from Texas starter Mike Minor some 390 feet off the wall in right-center, driving in three runs. He missed a grand slam by a foot, maybe less.
Mitch Haniger, replacing Cano as the three-hole hitter, tripled in his first at-bat to drive in Segura. Haniger finished with three hits.
Healy added his fifth home run of May — and eighth of the season — in the second inning.
Mariners starter Mike Leake couldn’t make the 6-3 lead stand.
Gallo hit his 13th homer of the season, an opposite-field solo shot to left, to start the Rangers’ three-run sixth. Rougned Odor doubled and Robinson Chirinos drove in Odor for the tying run.
Center fielder Dee Gordon made a nice, sliding catch on a Shin-Soo Choo drive to the warning track in right-center for the final out of the top of the sixth, keeping the score at 6-6.
Leake allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Juan Nicasio continued his rough stretch out of the Mariners’ bullpen, allowing the go-ahead run on a Ronald Guzman single in the eighth. Nicasio has allowed nine earned runs in eight appearances this month (in six innings). On this day, he was hardly the Mariners’ biggest worry.
“What can you say? We get in here about 3 in the morning, crazy game, our guys just keep battling and finding a way to hang in there,” Servais said. “It wasn’t a highlight reel for our pitching staff tonight, but we did hang in there. I give a ton of credit there to Goeddel at the end of the game. … Nice way to start the homestand.”