There were plenty of nominees for best at-bat of Seattle’s 11-10 victory over the Rangers on Sunday at Safeco Field, seeing as how the teams combined for 30 hits.

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There were plenty of nominees for best at-bat of Seattle’s 11-10 victory over the Rangers on Sunday at Safeco Field, seeing as how the teams combined for 30 hits.

But two of the finalists, one from Mariners pinch-hitter Seth Smith and another from leadoff man Austin Jackson, came in quick succession in the bottom of the ninth inning — even if they were quickly overshadowed by Nelson Cruz’s walkoff single a few batters later.

Brad Miller led off the ninth with a single and Logan Morrison preceded Smith with a fly out. Texas closer Neftali Feliz was called upon to snuff out an eighth-inning rally and was beginning to tire in his second frame of work.

“He’s their guy,” Miller said afterward. “That’s the guy they’re going to hand it off to. I think, collectively, we had six or seven good at-bats off him.”

Smith fouled off a pair of fastballs to earn a seven-pitch walk, the crowd noise edging up a level with every offering. Jackson was up next, and his tussle with Feliz lasted even longer.

A first-pitch slider missed its target, but Feliz quickly battled back to earn a 1-2 count. Jackson watched another ball, then fouled off three straight pitches to stay alive.

“I’m on second, so I had a perfect view,” Miller said. “Just fouling off fastball after fastball, fouling off a slider. His work on that slider was awesome.”

Jackson dropped the eighth pitch of the at-bat in front of charging right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and Miller scored from second to tie the score at 10.

Jackson finished 3 for 5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored to improve his season average to .277.

“He’s getting better,” Seattle coach Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s getting back to the player he once was.”

Big bats step up

Jackson wasn’t the only Mariner to finish Sunday’s game with multiple hits: Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager all finished with three apiece.

Cano, Cruz and Seager, the three-through-five hitters in Seattle’s lineup, went a combined 9 for 15 with nine RBI, two walks and a pair of home runs. The heart of the order also had its turn come around in multiple high-pressure situations, including in the bottom of the ninth inning when Feliz intentionally walked Cano to face Cruz.

“I don’t think you can ask for anything better than to have your three, four and five hitters up in that situation,” McClendon said. “Sometimes they get it done, and sometimes they don’t. We just happened to have our hottest hitter (come up). You always feel good about that.”

Notes

• Cruz’s MLB-leading eight home runs are the most by a player in a team’s first 12 games since Alex Rodriguez hit eight homers in the first 12 games of the 2007 season.

• Mariners starter James Paxton matched the shortest outing of his career (22/3  innings), while reliever Tyler Olson had his longest (also 22/3  innings).