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Home runs help Mariners rally past Rangers

By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – Muscle is a wonderful thing.

The Mariners used a three-homer salvo Friday night in offsetting some early defensive lapses while rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.

Mark Trumbo, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano cleared the wall in erasing a two-run deficit against lefty Cole Hamels, the Rangers’ marquee trade-deadline acquisition.

Cruz and Cano went back-to-back in the sixth inning. Cruz tied the game, while extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Cano then put the Mariners on top.

“Good game,” Cruz said. “We got the runs that we needed, and we beat a really good pitcher.”

And this time, the bullpen, while it had some anxious moments, avoided the sort of late breakdowns that produced two losses over the previous five games.

Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma worked through two long innings at the start and survived some shaky defense in the fourth in pitching through the seventh inning.

Iwakuma (3-2) threw a career-high 118 pitches and allowed three runs and six hits.

“I did feel a little fatigue toward the end, to be honest,” he said, “but I feel good. They put up good at-bats (early on). They were fouling off good pitches. But I was patient, and I was able to go long into the game.”

Joe Beimel inherited a 4-3 lead to start the eighth inning and threw wild to first on Rougned Odor’s leadoff bunt. The play was scored a single.

“I felt real unathletic on that play,” Beimel said. “I didn’t think I had as much time as I did. So I reached for the ball instead of going to it. … But I was able to add to my pickoff total.”

After the pickoff, Beimel retired Prince Fielder on a high, hold-your-breath fly to left.

“I was running back on it,” left fielder Seth Smith said, “and, toward the end, I realized it was coming down, and I wasn’t to the fence yet.”

Manager Lloyd McClendon then opted for a right-on-right matchup by summoning Tom Wilhelmsen to face Adrian Beltre, who sent a drive to deep left that just hooked foul before striking out.

The Mariners had a chance to gain some breathing space when they put runners at second and third with one out in the eighth against Spencer Patton. Cano singled, and Jesus Montero followed with a double.

The opportunity fizzled when Patton struck out Austin Jackson. The inning ended when Sam Freeman, after replacing Patton, retired Smith on a grounder to second.

It didn’t matter.

Carson Smith pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances. The Mariners have now won five of their last seven.

Hamels (0-1) gave up all four Mariners runs.

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