SEATTLE — Elvis Andrus lined a two-strike pitch into the left-center field gap for a two-run triple, Josh Hamilton made two tremendous catches in center field and added an RBI double, and the Texas Rangers snapped Seattle’s win streak at four with a 3-1 win over the Mariners on Tuesday night.
While Hamilton continues to scuffle at the plate, his defense in the outfield remains suburb. His biggest play came in the first inning when he chased down Casper Wells’ two-out bases-loaded drive to deep left-center and contorted his body to make the catch on the warning track. He then robbed Alex Liddi of at least a double with a leaping grab crashing into the wall leading off the third.
Andrus’ triple in the third came after Seattle starter Hector Noesi (2-5) hung a 1-2 breaking ball and Andrus drove it to the wall in left-center to give the Rangers the lead. Hamilton followed by dumping his double on the chalk of the left-field line.
Those were two of the three hits the Rangers got off Noesi in eight innings. And even though the Rangers home run streak ended at 15 games, the three runs were enough thanks to the pitching of Matt Harrison.
After throwing 35 pitches and barely escaping the first inning, Harrison (5-3) was nearly unhittable. Harrison retired 20 of 24 batters between the second and seventh innings, giving up hits to Michael Saunders, a pair to Brendan Ryan and watching Liddi reach on an error. Liddi’s grounder in the fifth hit off Adrian Beltre’s glove and rolled into shallow left field but Ryan was held by third base coach Jeff Datz and the Mariners missed a chance to cut into the Rangers lead when Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to end the inning.
Harrison came out for the eighth but his time was short. Liddi led off the eighth with a sharp single to center and Ichiro placed his second base hit of the night in almost the same spot. Harrison was replaced by Mike Adams, who got Jesus Montero to pop out, then struck out Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager, both on a 3-2 pitches off the outside edge of the plate. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Harrison struck out six, walked two and gave up seven hits in wining for the second time since April 21.
Seattle’s chance at a huge first inning was chased down by Hamilton. The Mariners got a two-out RBI single from Smoak to take an early lead and worked nine- and eight-pitch at-bats in the inning off Harrison driving his pitch count up early. But Wells didn’t hesitate jumping on Harrison’s first pitch and driving it to deep left-center field. Hamilton sprinted to the warning track then leaned back and caught Wells’ drive above his head, likely keeping the bases from clearing.
His catch in the third on Liddi’s drive was just as good, pulling it in right at the yellow line at the top of the fence. He left some repairs for the Seattle grounds crew when Hamilton’s spike ripped a chunk of material off the padded wall.
Aside from his poorly placed two-strike pitch to Andrus, Noesi was outstanding. He struck out a career-high seven and pitched at least seven innings for the third time in his last four starts. But Noesi still has just one win in his past seven outings.
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