Jaso’s single caps M’s ninth-inning rally
ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso had an RBI single with two outs in the ninth to cap a three-run rally off new Rangers closer Joe Nathan and give the Seattle Mariners a 4-3 victory over the two-time defending American League champions Wednesday night.
Jaso, the No. 9 hitter playing his first game this season, had a leadoff triple in the eighth and then scored Seattle’s first run on a single by Dustin Ackley.
Justin Smoak led off the ninth with a single against Nathan (0-2) before Kyle Seager’s double. Jesus Montero then had a sacrifice fly and Michael Saunders an RBI double before Jaso’s liner up the middle.
Rookie left-hander Lucas Luetge (1-0) had two strikeouts in 1 1-3 innings for his first major league victory. Brandon League worked the ninth for third save in three chances.
Before the Rangers bullpen faltered, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus hit back-to-back homers and Colby Lewis worked 6 2-3 scoreless innings.
Texas led 1-0 with two outs in the seventh before Kinsler hit a solo homer to left. Elvis Andrus immediately followed with an even longer shot for his first of the season.
Kinsler, who earlier in the day had finalized a new $75 million, five-year deal that kicks in next season, also doubled. But with pinch-runner Brandon Snyder at second base with one out in the ninth, Kinsler struck out before Andrus had an inning-ending liner to first.
Lewis, who had nine strikeouts in his opening day victory, struck out six with no walks against the Mariners. It was his 100th major league start in a career that began with Texas in 2002 and included two seasons in Japan before returning to the Rangers in 2010.
Alexi Ogando worked 1 1-3 innings, giving up his first run in four appearances this season when Jaso scored.
Nathan had saved his first two chances, including the Rangers’ 1-0 victory Tuesday night, but lost a game Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox after giving up a leadoff homer in the ninth of a tie game.
Kevin Millwood, Seattle’s oldest pitcher at 37, allowed one run with seven strikeouts and three walks over six innings in his first start of the season.
The back-to-back homers by Kinsler and Andrus came against right-hander Steve Delabar.
Earlier Wednesday, the Rangers announced the new deal for Kinsler, the two-time All-Star second baseman who twice in the past three seasons has had 30 homers and 30 stolen bases.
The 29-year-old Kinsler is in his seventh season, and his new deal includes a club option for 2018. He will make $7 million this season, and $13 million next year in the first year of the new contract.
Andrus, the 23-year-old shortstop in his fourth major league season, signed a three-year deal over the winter that takes him through his potential arbitration season.
The Rangers went ahead in the first after Josh Hamilton had a two-out double. Chone Figgins misplayed the ball, which bounced under his glove and got past him. Michael Young drove Hamilton home with a single and a 1-0 lead.
Nelson Cruz drew the second Texas walk in the first to load the bases for David Murphy, who had an AL-best five extra-base hits the first five games. Millwood started by throwing three consecutive balls to Murphy before coming back to get the inning-ending strikeout.
Millwood was with Texas from 2006-09. The only active pitchers with more than Millwood’s 2,565 1-3 career innings pitched or his 416 starts are 49-year-old Jamie Moyer and Livan Hernandez.
Seattle had a hit in each of the first four innings against Lewis. But after Smoak’s leadoff double in the fourth, the Rangers right-hander retired 11 in a row before a two-out double by Saunders in the seventh.
Ogando struck out Brendan Ryan to get out of the seventh. Then after a triple by John Jaso and Dustin Ackley’s single to make it 3-1, Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a double play — the bouncer up the middle ricocheted off Ogando’s right shoulder to Andrus near second base.
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