Mariners snap losing skid
SEATTLE — Franklin Gutierrez added a little pop to a night of Seattle small ball with a go-ahead solo homer in the fifth, and the Mariners snapped their seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
After a winless road trip to Chicago and Minnesota, the Mariners returned home and rediscovered a little offense to go along with the pitching of starter Jason Vargas.
Gutierrez was responsible for Seattle’s first run in the third with a bases-loaded squeeze bunt. After Jack Wilson scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, Gutierrez went opposite field with one out in the fifth, his drive ricocheting off the yellow padding at the top of the wall and into the first row of seats. It was his 10th homer.
Despite struggling uncharacteristically with walks early in the game, Vargas lasted through six innings before turning it over to the bullpen. Despite the control problems, Vargas (7-5) allowed just three hits and two runs and picked up his first victory in more than a month.
Jamey Wright pitched the seventh, before Brandon League got out of a jam in the eighth thanks to Chone Figgins. With one out and runners on first and third, Nelson Cruz lined a one-hopper that appeared headed for right field. Figgins instead started a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
David Aardsma then finished off Seattle’s first win since July 25 with a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 23 chances.
Vargas last won June 22 against the Chicago Cubs. He had lost his previous three decisions.
Texas starter Colby Lewis (9-8) lost his third straight decision, despite striking out nine and rarely giving up a hard-hit ball. It was his first loss to Seattle this year after two victories and 23 innings with just two runs allowed to the Mariners.
Seattle knocked around Lewis for nine hits, matching his season high for most allowed, although that total included infield hits by Ichiro Suzuki and Figgins. Suzuki’s dribbler to shortstop was the catalyst for the Mariners’ first run, when three straight singles loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Russell Branyan struck out, but Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu took the safe route with Gutierrez at the plate.
Instead of giving Gutierrez a chance to swing away, he was called on to put down a sacrifice bunt. Suzuki didn’t break immediately, but the bunt up the first base line was good enough from Gutierrez that Suzuki scored easily.
An inning later, Wilson singled with two outs and was at third after singles by Suzuki and Figgins. Lewis then skipped a breaking ball in the dirt past catcher Bengie Molina. The wild pitch got just far enough for Wilson to score sliding.
Lewis entered the night third in the American League in batting average against. It was the third time this season — all in his last seven starts — that Lewis has allowed nine hits.
NOTES: Seattle 3B Jose Lopez is expected to play on Wednesday after sitting out a few games with a sore hamstring. … Texas DH Vladimir Guerrero got a planned day off Tuesday, despite a career .359 average at Safeco Field. That’s the highest of any major league player with at least 200 at-bats at the stadium. He pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded out. … Seattle C Adam Moore, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before Tuesday’s game, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He was hitting .321 in his last 36 games in the minors.
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