ARLINGTON, Texas — The ace pitchers were out of the game, and the Seattle Mariners had the lead with two outs in the ninth inning.
After a botched force play and a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to come home, Leonys Martin had another big hit for the Texas Rangers.
Seattle closer Fernando Rodney was charged with two unearned runs and the Mariners lost 3-2 on Martin’s game-ending RBI single on Wednesday night. Martin also chased Felix Hernandez with a leadoff triple in the eighth.
“Rodney did a great job. It was unfortunate that we made the error,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s a 162-game schedule. You’re going to win your share of those, and you’re going to lose your share. When you’re on the losing end, it doesn’t feel good.”
Rodney (0-1) retired the first two in the ninth before Kevin Kouzmanoff’s single ricocheted off the glove of sliding shortstop Brad Miller and dribbled into the outfield. Mitch Moreland drew a walk before pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy’s grounder was fielded by Miller, whose toss to second base was high. The error allowed Moreland to slide in safely and extended the game.
“It was hit right at me. It kind of ran up on me,” Miller said. “I threw it too high. I saw it was too high off the get-go. Everybody did their part but me. Everybody played their butts off. I’ve just got to make that play next time.”
It was Seattle’s first error in five games, and only its second in 12 games.
Rodney then threw a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. Martin’s sharp single to left gave Texas its fourth victory in its final at-bat at home already this season. It was Rodney’s first blown save in four chances.
Pedro Figueroa (1-0) worked a perfect ninth for his first major league victory.
Hernandez retired 10 in a row before Martin’s triple. He allowed four hits and one run, when Martin scored on a sacrifice fly against pinch-hitter Michael Choice, the first batter for reliever Charlie Furbush.
“All of my pitches were working. I just made one mistake in the game,” said Hernandez, who struck out nine. “That was that fastball to (Martin).”
Texas ace Yu Darvish struck eight and walked two in seven innings, but remains winless in his last eight home starts despite a 2.33 ERA in those games.
Darvish didn’t allow a run in his first two starts of the season, but was down 2-0 in the second after No. 9 hitter Mike Zunino and Abraham Almonte had consecutive two-out RBI singles.
“You’ve got to give Seattle credit, they fought him pretty hard for their at-bats, they just wasn’t going up there making outs,” Washington said.
Martin also had a nifty running catch, reaching and lunging with his arm fully extended steps from the center-field wall to rob Dustin Ackley of a hit in the sixth.
But there was also a play in the fourth when Zunino reached on what was ruled a single after a ball dropped between Martin and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who were both calling for the ball but backed off to avoid a collision. That was the last of Seattle’s seven hits in the game.
This was the third head-to-head matchup of the star pitchers, and the first since 2012, the same year Darvish came to the major leagues from Japan. Hernandez won the first two, and has given up only two runs over 24 innings (0.75 ERA) in the three games — while Darvish has a 6.75 ERA (13 earned runs over 17 1-3 innings) opposing King Felix.
Nick Franklin, who had a one-out triple in the second before scoring Seattle’s first run, was recalled earlier Wednesday along with outfielder James Jones after left-hander Blake Beavan (shoulder tendinitis) and outfielder Logan Morrison (strained right hamstring) were put on the 15-day disabled list. … The Mariners had to hold up momentarily before coming off the field at the end of the fourth when Texas manager Ron Washington came out to question a force play at second base for the third out. Washington didn’t challenge and ask umpires to look at the replay, which showed clearly that Moreland was out by a step.