ARLINGTON, Texas — The Mariners’ dominance over the Texas Rangers came to an end, well, at least for one game.
After losing their last nine games against Seattle and 10 of the last 12 meetings this season, the Rangers finally found a way to beat the Mariners, prevailing 7-4 Saturday night at Globe Life Field.
But it wasn’t so much that the Rangers beat them, it was an unusually sloppy performance in the field that left the Mariners feeling like they beat themselves with mistakes and failed execution.
“It was not our crispest game,” manager Scott Servais said. “We didn’t play like we typically play. It was uncharacteristic of how we have been playing with errors and walks out of the bullpen. You are going to have those games once in a while. They aren’t fun. I wish we could play perfect every night.”
The sloppy play was more than the Mariners’ restored lineup, which also failed to cash in on some run-scoring opportunities, could overcome. The Mariners lost just for the 13th time in 62 games where they’ve scored four runs or more.
“We’ll be fine,” Servais said.
The Mariners seemed to be headed for yet another win over the Rangers, grabbing an early 3-0 lead, picking up two runs in the first inning off Texas starter Dane Dunning on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Eugenio Suarez and another in the second on a sac fly from Sam Haggerty.
Facing the Rangers for the fifth time this season (yes, five starts), Marco Gonzales cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one hit — a leadoff double to Ezequiel Duran in the third — and no runs.
But his outing fell apart in the fourth inning.
After getting Corey Seager to line out to center to start the inning, Adolis Garcia hit a hard fly ball to left-center.
Left fielder Jesse Winker got a late read on the ball and didn’t close on it fast enough to make a play. It went for a double instead of an out.
Jonah Heim followed with a ground ball through the left side of the infield that Winker somehow couldn’t cut off. It rolled to the wall, allowing Garcia to score with ease while Heim got a double instead of a single.
Those extra 90 feet for Heim loomed large when Nathaniel Lowe followed with a bloop single to shallow left field. Heim was able to move to third base on the play.
A soft ground ball off the bat of Charlie Culberson allowed Heim to score from third while Suarez made a bad throw to first that allowed Lowe to move to third.
The Rangers continued to add. Duran singled up the middle to tie the game and Bubba Thompson executed a perfect safety squeeze bunt to score Culberson and give the Rangers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“We didn’t have a ball go our way there,” Gonzales said. “The ball that Culberson hit, if he hits it a little harder, it’s a double play for us. So we ran into some tough luck, and they had some timely hitting as well.”
When the carnage ended, all four runs in the inning were charged to Gonzales but that sort of inning could’ve been avoided or lessened by the Mariners.
“He’s not gonna run out there and throw double digit strikeouts,” Servais said of Gonzales. “There’s going to be action, and you’re going to have make the plays behind him.”
The Rangers made it 5-3 the next inning, but it couldn’t be blamed on the defense. Seager golfed a changeup below the strike zone deep into the right-field seats.
Gonzales’ line: five innings pitched, five runs allowed on nine hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
In five starts vs. the Rangers this season, Gonzales has a 1-2 record with a 5.16 ERA, having allowed 17 earned runs in 29 2/3 innings pitched with 35 hits allowed, five walks and 22 strikeouts.
“Honestly, I like the challenge of having to face a team a lot,” he said. “It brings out the best in both sides. It’s going to happen. I think I’ve had some good outings against them and they’ve gotten me a couple times now. It’s been a back-and-forth battle.
In his last six starts, Gonzales is 2-3 with a 6.69 ERA, allowing 26 earned runs in 35 innings pitched.
“I still feel like I’m in a good place, a solid place execution-wise,” he said. “My body and my arm feel good. We had a good game plan. They had some timely hitting and some balls didn’t go our way. This is one just to flush and move on.”
The Mariners trimmed the lead to 5-4 in the sixth inning when Suarez made up for his error by launching a solo homer to left-center for his 19th homer of the season.
But Seattle couldn’t keep the lead at one run.
After issuing a one-out walk, Penn Murfee gave up back-to-back hits to allow a run in the bottom of the sixth. After escaping a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh, Chris Flexen’s leadoff walk in the eighth inning and Cal Raleigh’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt helped set up another run to score.
Suarez’s solo homer was the only run that the Mariners would get against the Rangers’ bullpen. Four pitchers combined to work 4 2/3 innings, holding Seattle to two hits and two walks.