SEATTLE SPLIT

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners Wednesday afternoon to start the week with a split in their two game series. The win halted the Rangers’ three game losing streak and brought their record to 2-3 on the current road trip.

The series began Tuesday night with a very offensive and very interesting game. Mike Minor was the Ranger starting pitcher, and he turned in his worst start of the season. He was knocked out of the box in the fourth inning, charged with six runs on eight hits. Eleven of the 21 batters he faced reached base.

When Minor departed, the Rangers trailed 6-3, and as sluggish as the Ranger offense has been, it felt like a win in the books for Seattle. But this game was far from over. The Ranger bats came alive with three runs in the sixth to tie the game. Joey Gallo started the rally with his 13th home run. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Rougned Odor followed with doubles to plate the second run, and Robinson Chirinos singled Odor home for the third run of the inning.

A walk, a single and a Ronald Guzman single gave the Rangers a 7-6 lead going to the bottom of the eighth. It looked to be set up perfectly for the win with the Rangers’ two best bullpen hands on tap to close out the game – Jose LeClerc for the eighth and Keone Kela for the ninth.

But again, this game did not go to form. A lead-off double followed by a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt tied the game and put a Mariner on second base with no outs. A successful sacrifice bunt and a single followed to put Seatte in the lead 8-7.

Seattle brought on closer Edwin Diaz to finish off the Rangers in the ninth inning, but still again, the game did not go to form. Jurickson Profar led off with a single and eventually scored on a Gallo groundout. That tied the game sending it to extra innings.

Neither team scored in the 10th, but in the 11th, Alex Claudio was hit with three consecutive one out singles to give the Mariners a 9-8 walkoff win. Claudio is 1-2 with the loss.

The Rangers came back with Bartolo Colon on Wednesday afternoon. He pitched his best game as a Ranger giving up four hits and no runs over 7-2/3rds innings. He notched the win to move his record to 2-1. His ERA dropped to 2.82 which now ranks ninth in the American League.

Seattle’s Christian Bergman was matching zeroes on the scoreboard with Colon.  He blanked the Rangers over seven innings on just two hits.

Once he left, the Rangers struck scoreboard gold against the M’s bullpen.

Delino DeShields doubled home Kiner-Falefa with two outs to give the Rangers the lead. Texas then added four insurance runs in the ninth inning, which included two runs scoring on a strikeout/wild pitch.  Seattle’s Kyle Seager homered in the bottom of the ninth to make the final score 5-1.

Texas is now 10.5 games out of first place (10 in the loss column), and they are solidly in last place trailing fourth place Oakland by 4.5 games (five in the loss column).

The Rangers departed Seattle immediately after the game to fly to Chicago. They meet the White Sox in a four game series this weekend. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Mike Minor.

NOTABLE:

* Bartolo Colon is 14-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 starts at Seattle’s Safeco Park.

* As expected, Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list after leaving Sunday’s game in Houston with a hamstring issue. He is expected to miss two to three weeks. Utility infielder Hanser Alberto was added to the roster to take Beltre’s place.

* Tuesday night’s extra inning loss was the first of the season for the Rangers. They had won the four previous extra inning games this year.

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