The tenth inning featured home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor more than any player on the field in the Rangers’ 4-3 extra-inning win over Seattle Tuesday.
A balk call made by Bucknor brought home Ian Kinsler in the form of the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the tenth inning. The run broke a streak of six consecutive scoreless innings Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
Kinsler and Adrian Beltre each singled with one out, and Kinsler swiped third base to put himself in position to trot home on the alleged Danny Farquhar balk. The Mariner closer moved his head before coming set, and Bucknor deemed it illegal.
Leading off the top half of the tenth, Bucknor ruled that Elvis Andrus was running out of the base path on a ground ball back to the pitcher, as Andrus was hit by the throw to first.
Each team squandered a chance to pull ahead during regulation baseball.
After Michael Saunders singled to lead off the ninth inning, Dustin Ackley popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt that landed behind Neal Cotts for an infield hit, and the Mariners had runners on first and second.
Tanner Scheppers came in to induce another failed bunt attempt, and blew away the final two batters in regulation baseball with nothing but fastballs.
In the eighth inning, the Rangers put runners on first and second with no one out. But the opportunity went kaput with an A.J. Pierzynski pop out and a double play ground ball from Alex Rios.
Before the extra-inning Ranger run, all of the scoring came early in the game.
Tuesday’s contest featured Derek Holland and Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound, who each carried a sub-3.00 ERA into the game.
All signs pointed to a pitchers’ duel. But for the first three innings, it didn’t turn out that way.
Walks came back to bite Holland in the first inning. Holland walked two Mariners before Kendrys Morales hit an RBI double down the right field line, and former Ranger Justin Smoak followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Rangers in an early 2-0 hole.
Holland threw 26 pitches in that first inning.
The Ranger bats rallied in the second inning against Hisashi Iwakuma. The Rangers plated three runs on four hits in the frame.
Rios launched a double off the left field wall and crossed home on a Mitch Moreland RBI single. After a walk to Jurickson Profar, David Murphy added a one-out RBI single of his own. Andrus deposited a two-out, RBI single to right-center to cap the Ranger rally.
Franklin Gutierrez led off the Seattle half of the third with a solo blast to center field that tied the game at three.
After that, the two hurlers exchanged zeros in the box score.
Holland found his groove in the fourth inning, recording his first 1-2-3 inning of the game. A leadoff single was erased by a double play ground ball.
The lefty recorded a three-up, three-down inning in the traditional sense in the fifth inning. The fifth frame was also the first inning in which Holland retired the leadoff hitter.
Both starters were finished for the night after six innings. Iwakuma retired 12 of the last 14 Rangers he faced, but his pitch count had eclipsed 50 in the first two innings. He finished with 103 pitches, while Holland threw 104.
It was the fourteenth consecutive start in which Holland has gone at least six innings.
Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina combined for three innings of scoreless relief for Seattle before Farquhar balked home the winning run. Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, Scheppers pitched through the end of regulation. Frasor has allowed only one run over his last 10 appearances, dating back to July 29.
Joe Nathan recorded save no. 38 on the season to close it out. Kyle Seager hit a single in the ninth, and has now hit safely in 17 of 18 games against Texas this season. Nathan worked around Seager’s hit and a two-out walk to record the save.
The Rangers kept pace with Oakland, who won a rain-shortened game in Detroit Tuesday. First pitch in the series finale with Seattle is slated for 2:40 p.m. Wednesday.