ARLINGTON, Texas – Robinson Cano is no stranger to playing in September games that matter.
Cano is having quite an impact in his first stretch run with wild card-contending Seattle, with his first four-RBI game for the Mariners putting them up big early on the way to a 10-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
“This is a game that really mattered for us. If we want to stay in the race, we’ve got to start early,” Cano said. “When they’re out of the race, you don’t want to play around with them.”
The Mariners, coming off consecutive one-run wins at A.L. wild card leader Oakland, stayed a half-game behind Detroit for the second wild card. Detroit won 11-4 in 11 innings at Cleveland.
“I thought it was important that they came out with a lot of energy, a lot of focus, and played up to their ability and not get caught up in a lot of different things,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
While long a forgone conclusion, the Rangers (53-87) became the first team in the majors eliminated from playoff contention after their sixth loss in a row. They went to their second consecutive World Series only three years ago.
Rookie left-hander Roenis Elias (10-12) allowed a run in five innings and become the fourth Seattle starter with at least 10 wins.
It’s the first time since 2003 that the Mariners have had at least four 10-game winners.
Cano had a two-run single in Seattle’s six-run outburst in the second against Robbie Ross (2-6), all with two outs. Cano’s two-out double an inning later, the first extra-base hit for the Mariners, drove in two more to make it 9-0.
In the first season of his $240 million, 10-year deal after leaving the Yankees in free agency, Cano is hitting .322 with 32 doubles, 13 home runs and 75 RBIs through 134 games. He had 23 games with at least four RBIs during his nine seasons in New York, and his career high is six.
Texas used six pitchers, including two more making their big league debuts, to increase the Rangers’ major league record totals to 40 pitchers used and 63 players overall this season.
Chris Denorfia homered in the seventh, his first in 20 games with Seattle since being acquired from San Diego at the end of July.