September 18, 2011 in Sports

Homer-happy Rangers overcome early deficit to defeat Mariners

Geoff Baker Seattle Times
 

SEATTLE – Alex Liddi didn’t go down passively when sent in to face the high-90s heat of the opposing closer in the ninth inning.

Liddi wound up strikeout victim No. 13 to end a record-setting Saturday for a Mariners team, beaten 7-6 by the Texas Rangers. The Mariners had already set their franchise record for strikeouts the previous inning and would finish the day at 1,187 for the season with 10 games to play.

But after the game, manager Eric Wedge pointed at Liddi’s pinch-hit at-bat as the way he wants his players to go down on strikes if they have to.

“He went up there and he got his hacks in,” Wedge said. “The guy’s throwing 99, 100 miles an hour out there and a lot of these kids haven’t seen that, especially in this setting and that type of ballgame.”

Wedge later added: “What I don’t want to see is, I don’t like called third strikes. That’s something we continue to improve upon. We’re getting some pitches to hit, fouling some pitches back that look like some pretty good pitches to hit that we need to get on. That’s just squaring up the baseball.”

The Mariners did square some balls up early, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in front of 22,159 at Safeco Field on Fan Appreciation Day before the Rangers countered with a home-run barrage against Anthony Vasquez in the third inning. Elvis Andrus got the long-ball parade going with a blast into the Seattle bullpen in left field, followed two pitches later by Josh Hamilton lining a ball over the right-field wall.

Vasquez got a line-drive out after that before Adrian Beltre drilled the first pitch he saw off the facing of the second deck in left field to tie it 4-4.

“My mindset up there was to really go out there and attack,” said Vasquez, who got a little too predictable with his mid-80s fastballs that inning. “The last thing I wanted to do with a lead was go out there and fall behind hitters.”

But the Rangers, as he quickly found out, can strike a lot more quickly than most clubs.

“You’d never think they can put balls out of the park that easy with one swing of the bat,” he said. “But they did.”

Vasquez walked David Murphy to start the fourth inning and was promptly pulled in favor of Jeff Gray, who gave up a walk and a single to load the bases with one out. Hamilton then singled to drive in a pair and Michael Young followed with a sacrifice fly to give Texas a 7-4 lead.

The only thing that kept Seattle in it was Mike Carp connecting for a two-run homer in the fifth off Colby Lewis.

But the Rangers starter had struck out six of seven hitters before that, a trend that continued the rest of the game.

Trayvon Robinson connected for a double in the sixth – the only hit for Seattle the rest of the game – while making a great catch leaning into the first row of seats in foul territory in left in the seventh to get the M’s out of a jam.

But that was pretty much it.

Rangers closer Neftali Feliz came on in the ninth and struck out Luis Rodriguez before retiring Liddi one out later to end the game.

The Mariners have 83 strikeouts in the past seven games and 269 the past 30 days, leading the majors over both time periods.

• Relief pitcher Dan Cortes will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken bone in his right (throwing hand) in what the Mariners said was an off-field incident on Thursday. The Mariners didn’t give any more details.

Texas ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
Kinsler 2b 410011.247
Andrus ss 522100.279
J.Hamilton lf 514301.299
Mi.Young 1b 201120.333
A.Beltre 3b 511101.287
Napoli c 513001.317
N.Cruz dh 501002.269
German pr-dh 000000.500
D.Murphy rf 411010.272
Gentry cf 301100.273
E.Chavez ph-cf 100000.298
Totals 39714746
Seattle ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
I.Suzuki rf 412202.273
Seager 3b 412201.258
Ackley 2b 400002.281
Carp 1b 411201.278
A.Kennedy dh 311000.234
W.Pena ph-dh 100000.216
J.Bard c 300001.210
Olivo ph-c 100000.224
Ryan ss 111000.248
Rodriguez ss 300003.192
Robinson lf 401001.236
Saunders cf 210011.155
Liddi ph 100001.111
Totals 35686113
Texas 013300000—7140
Seattle 040020000—680

LOB—Texas 10, Seattle 3. 2B—J.Hamilton (29), Napoli 2 (24), Seager (10), T.Robinson (12). HR—Andrus (5), J.Hamilton (23), A.Beltre (26), Carp (10). RBIs—Andrus (59), J.Hamilton 3 (91), Mi.Young (102), A.Beltre (92), Gentry (11), I.Suzuki 2 (43), Seager 2 (9), Carp 2 (38). SF—Mi.Young. RLSIP—Texas 4, Seattle 2. RMU—Gentry, T.Robinson. GIDP—Dav.Murphy. DP—Seattle 1.

Texas IPHRERBBSOERA
Lewis W,13-10 52/3866174.45
Oliver H,15 11/3000032.16
Gonzalez H,8 1/3000014.38
Adams H,5 2/3000002.29
Feliz S,27-33 1000022.98
Seattle IPHRERBBSOERA
Vasquez L,1-4 3755138.25
Gray 21/3422104.60
Jimenez 2/3000117.36
Ruffin 1100013.46
J.Wright 2200113.26

IR-S—D.Oliver 1-0, Gray 1-1. IBB—Mi.Young. T—2:55. A—22,159 (47,878).

SUNMONTUEWEDTHUFRISAT
September
18

TEX

1:10

19

CLE

1:00

20

MIN

5:10

21

MIN

5:10

22

MIN

10:10

23

TEX

5:05

24

TEX

5:05

25

TEX

12:05

26

OAK

7:10

27

OAK

7:10

28

OAK

7:10

2930

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