SEATTLE – Just in time for perhaps their most difficult trip of the year, the Mariners’ road back to .500 got a little easier Sunday.
And if Kyle Seager continues to hit the ball – no, scorch the ball – as he has the past week, the Mainers just might get back on track soon enough.
Seager’s late-inning heroics continued Sunday with two more home runs at Safeco Field, including a go-ahead, three-run blast in the eighth inning that propelled the M’s to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Texas.
Seager also hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, one of his five home runs in the past four games. He didn’t have any in the Mariners’ first 20 games.
“We’ve been putting some good work in the cage … and it’s been feeling a little bit better for a while now, and hopefully it continues,” Seager said.
On Wednesday, Seager hit a walkoff three-run home run to beat Houston, snapping the Mariners’ eight-game losing streak. In the past four games, Seager is 8 for 15 with those five home runs and 11 RBIs, raising his season average from .156 to .228.
“He’s starting to heat up a little bit,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s swinging the bat the way we know he’s capable of swinging it.”
The victory before 26,300 at Safeco gave the Mariners (10-14) just their second series win of the season and first since sweeping the Angels to start the year.
M’s right-hander Brandon Maurer, making his second start, allowed five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings as the Rangers built a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning.
Texas left-hander Matt Harrison, in his first start in nearly 13 months, shut down the Mariners in order through three innings.
Robinson Cano started Seattle’s comeback with an RBI double in the fourth, and he scored the only other run off Harrison on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Five Mariners relievers combined to throw 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, with Danny Farquhar earning his first major league win.
“They saved us,” McClendon said.
In the bottom of the eighth, Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando had struck out the Mariners’ Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Cano and Corey Hart, before Justin Smoak – who fell behind the count 0-2 – hit an opposite-field double off the wall in left. Pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley followed with a first-pitch infield single.
That set the stage for more heroics from Seager, who crushed a 1-0 change-up about 20 rows deep beyond the right-field fence.
“(Ogando) has so much good stuff that you kind of just have to look for something over the middle of the plate,” Seager said. “You kind of have to hope for a mistake pitch because he’s really good.”
Fernando Rodney shut down the Rangers in order in the ninth, striking out Elvis Andrus on an 86 mph change-up, for his fifth save.
“He was very determined today to get it over with quickly,” McClendon said.
The Mariners departed for New York on Sunday evening for a trip that will cover 6,108 miles to play 10 games in three cities over a nine-day stretch. And a 3-3 homestand gives them at least some positive momentum to work with.
“I think we’re getting better,” McClendon said. “As I’ve said before, give us 50 games or so to figure out what we’ve got and where guys are. But I think they’re starting to find their niche a little bit.”