The Ranger bats got to Seattle starter Joe Saunders and Travis Blackley recorded a quality start in his second outing as a Ranger, an 8-3 win over the Mariners on Monday.
Blackley allowed three runs on just five hits in six innings of work, striking out four Seattle hitters.
The scoring started early for the Rangers when Alex Rios roped a two-out, two-RBI single with the bases loaded against Mariner starter Joe Saunders. The two RBIs were his sixth and seventh as a Ranger.
Craig Gentry was hit in the hip by a Joe Saunders fastball to lead off the game, and Elvis Andrus followed with a single to center. The bases were loaded with a sacrifice bunt by Ian Kinsler and an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre.
The Ranger bats got going again in the fourth inning, and they benefitted from speed on the base paths. Jurickson Profar hit a one-out bullet to second base with runners on the corners. Nick Franklin bobbled the ball and Profar barely beat out the double play relay, allowing Rios to score.
Andrus, who celebrated his 25th birthday Monday, had his third hit of the night drop into right field for a two-out RBI.
A.J. Pierzynski, who hit weak ground balls in each of his first three at-bats, demolished the first pitch of his fourth at-bat for a three-run home run off Saunders to break the game open.
A moon shot off the bat of Mitch Moreland in the eighth inning against Yoervis Medina capped the scoring for Texas.
Blackley said after his first start that he wanted to go deeper into the game with each start. To do that, he would need to be efficient with a limited pitch count.
And the Aussie started Monday’s game with an efficient first inning. Blackley threw just nine pitches (seven strikes) and didn’t allow a ball out of the infield in the first.
He needed just eight pitches to get through the second inning, recording a strikeout in the frame.
Blackley lost control a bit in the third inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases for Seattle, and a one-out RBI single by Brad Miller knotted the game at two. A double play ground ball ended the Mariner threat after 21 Blackley pitches.
Kyle Seager, an absolute machine against the 2013 Rangers, hit home run no. 20 into the right field seats in the fourth inning.
Seager is now 28-FOR-70 (.400) with 11 doubles, five home runs, and 14 RBIs against the Rangers this season.
Blackley finished with 71 pitches in his six innings of work. He threw 66 pitches in just four innings in his Ranger debut.
After Seager’s solo blast, Blackley and Saunders retired a combined 15 of the next 16 batters as the teams traded scoreless frames before the Rangers’ two-out, seventh inning rally that led to Pierzynski’s three-run shot.
Neal Cotts relieved Blackley in the seventh, working around a one-out walk by striking out two in a scoreless frame. Joakim Soria threw a scoreless eighth, and Tanner Scheppers pitched the bottom of the ninth for the Rangers.
Andrus added to his three-hit night at the plate with an impressive diving catch at shortstop behind Scheppers.
The Rangers kept pace with Oakland, who won in Detroit earlier Monday. The division lead remains 2.5 games. Game two of three in Seattle is slated for Tuesday in another late start. Hisashi Iwakuma will throw the first pitch of the game at 9 p.m. CT.