Mitch Haniger drove in the winning run on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers 5-4 Friday night.
With one out in the 11th, Omar Narvaez grounded a single into right field off Rangers right-hander Kyle Dowdy (1-1). Walks to Ryon Healy and Dee Gordon loaded the bases for Haniger, who hit a hard shot to the left of third baseman Logan Forsythe, who was playing deep. Forsythe attempted to throw to second to start an inning-ending double play but struggled to get the ball out of his glove and the speedy Gordon beat the throw to second.
Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.
Rangers pinch-hitter Shin-Soo Choo hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the ninth inning off right-hander Anthony Swarzak to tie the score at 4-4. Soo-Choo, a 15-year veteran, began his career with the Mariners.
Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs for the Mariners.
Encarnacion opened the scoring with a three-run homer in the third inning and added a run-scoring single in the fifth after the Rangers had pulled within 3-2. The homer, his seventh of the season, reached the second deck in left field.
The Mariners sent left-hander Yusei Kikuchi out as their opener, part of the wellness plan that lured him to sign with Seattle in the offseason. About once a month, the Mariners will use Kikuchi in an abbreviated start in an attempt to avoid the injuries that have befallen other star Japanese pitchers. Kikuchi pitched the first before giving way to lefty Justus Sheffield, the Mariners’ top pitching prospect. Sheffield, acquired as part of the offseason trade with the New York Yankees for pitcher James Paxton, made his debut for the Mariners and pitched three innings. Sheffield allowed two runs — on a homer by Nomar Mazara in the fourth — on two hits, with four walks and three strikeouts. … The M’s announced former outfielder Mike Cameron has joined the player development staff as a special assignment coach. Cameron will work with prospects at all levels of the organization, with a focus on outfield defense and baserunning.
By the numbers
18: Number of bases on balls in Friday’s game, nine by each pitching staff.
Our take from Right Field
Maybe the M’s should have used Elias, who is 4-for-4 in save opportunities, in the ninth instead of waiting until the 10th. Of course, Elias pitched an inning when Seattle was ahead 14-0 on Thursday, so perhaps the plan wasn’t to use him at all. It was a little surprising Kikuchi wasn’t sent out for a second inning after retiring the side on nine pitches in the first with two strikeouts.
The four-game series continues at 6:10 p.m. Saturday at T-Mobile Park. RHP Mike Leake (2-2, 4.30 ERA) is scheduled to face Rangers LHP Mike Minor (2-2, 3.21).
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