After four scoreless innings that included only 93 total pitches and four total baserunners, the Rangers and Mariners traded runs in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings before Kyle Seager drove in the game-winning run for a 4-3 Seattle victory on Sunday afternoon.
Yu Darvish and Erasmo Ramirez competed in a pitchers’ duel, each recording a quality start.
The Seattle run in the fifth was less a result of the Mariners manufacturing a run than a product of defensive miscues in the Rangers infield.
Michael Saunders hit a leadoff single past the extended glove of Ian Kinsler, and could’ve been out three different times on his journey to scoring the first Mariners run.
Mitch Moreland hesitated on a chopper to first base, thinking first about a double play. The hesitation turned a routine out into a Dustin Ackley infield single. With runners on first and second, Saunders was caught off second base, but reached third on a throw behind him by A.J. Pierzynski.
Saunders came home on another routine ground ball to first, on which Moreland elected to touch first and get just one out. No errors were technically committed, and it went down as an earned run on Darvish’s ledger.
Moreland got the run back for the Rangers in the bottom half of the inning, though, as he lifted a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Pierzynski from third. Pierzynski led off the inning with a double to right, and advanced to third on a ground ball by Alex Rios.
Saunders struck again in the sixth inning with a two-out, RBI double to right field to put the Mariners back on top.
But Craig Gentry scampered around the bases in the bottom half after reaching on an error by Kyle Seager. A throwing error on Gentry’s steal of second base put the speedster on third for Adrian Beltre to loop an RBI single to right.
With 108 pitches through seven innings, Darvish took the mound in the eighth inning and let the first two hitters reach base.
Robbie Ross relieved Darvish after 120 pitches, and surrendered a two-out, RBI single to center field by Dustin Ackley. Left-handed batters are 14 for their last 29 at-bats against Ross.
Three of the four Mariners runs came with two outs on Sunday afternoon.
An RBI double by Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the eighth inning tied the game for the third time, but Andrus was caught stealing third to end the Texas threat.
Darvish was efficient through five innings, as it took only 62 pitches to get through five, despite the Seattle run in the fifth.
But Darvish threw 29 pitches in the sixth inning, and walked four Mariners in his last two-and-a-third innings. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Darvish lost his command Sunday.
“Earlier he was spotting it up, but once we got past the fifth inning he just got a little erratic with his command,” Washington told reporters after the game.
Seager finished the three-game series with a .364 batting average and five RBI against Texas. The 25-year-old recorded a 1.000 slugging percentage over the weekend.
The Rangers continue their homestand Monday as the Astros come to Arlington for a three-game series.