ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer on the game’s third at-bat, Marco Gonzales pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Gonzales (5-5) followed up a two-hitter against Texas on Aug. 12 by holding the Rangers to six hits and one walk while striking out three. He has a 0.67 ERA in four August starts.
Seager’s 421-foot drive midway up the first deck in right field was his club-leading 27th of the season and his 37th career homer against Texas, tying him for fourth place among Rangers opponents with Jason Giambi.
It was the 34th homer allowed this season by Mike Foltynewicz (2-12), most in the major leagues. It came after Mitch Haniger was hit by a 3-2 pitch.
Drew Steckenrider, Seattle’s fifth reliever, pitched a perfect ninth inning for his fifth save in eight opportunities.
The Mariners have a 2.52 team ERA in August and went into the game tied with Texas for the lowest team batting average in the major leagues at .222.
“We’ve been able to win these games because of our pitching,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s not pretty, but it’s professional and very competitive.”
The Mariners (65-56) have won six of their last seven games and are a season-best nine games over .500. They pulled within three games of the American League’s last wild-card spot.
Seattle added an insurance run in the eighth when leadoff batter Jarred Kelenic was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on Cal Raleigh’s double to right and scored on J.P. Crawford’s sacrifice fly.
Jose Trevino drove in the Rangers’ only run with a two-out double to right field in the seventh inning off Erik Swanson after Andy Ibanez’s ground-rule double to right-center bounced into the home bullpen.
Trevino also hit a two-out double in the fifth off Gonzales that struck the top of the fence at the deepest part of Globe Life Field, the back corner of the “S” curve at the 410-foot marker in left center, and bounced back into play. Rookie Yonny Hernandez, who singled his first two times up, then hit a sharp liner to shortstop Crawford.
The Rangers (42-78) are a major-league worst 7-23 following the All-Star break and are a season-worst 36 games under .500.
Foltynewicz also has the least run support in the American League, which plagued him again. He went into play receiving only 2.76 runs of support per nine innings. He allowed only two other hits in six innings without Texas scoring and retired 11 straight at one stretch.
Hernandez, a 23-year-old Venezuelan, has written a tribute to his late mother on his cap each game since he came up from Triple-A Round Rock on Aug. 5. Before Wednesday’s game, he revealed through an interpreter that she died one day before he joined the Rangers.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “We’ve provided him and his family joy in getting him here and enjoying his first time in the major leagues and having success. I’m really proud of the way he’s handled it.”
Seager almost had another RBI in the sixth inning on a double to right-center with Haniger on first base, but Haniger was thrown out at the plate. … The Mariners have won or split 14 of their last 18 series. … Trevino’s first double snapped an 0-for-15 skid, and he also threw out two base-stealers. … Texas has scored three total runs in its last four games against Seattle.
Rangers LHP John King (inflammation) experienced new soreness Tuesday and will be re-evaluated. … Rangers RHP Kohei Arihara (shoulder surgery) threw 35 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday and is on track to make two rehab appearances.
Thursday afternoon’s series finale will match Mariners RHP Chris Flexen (10-5, 3.78 ERA) against Rangers rookie RHP Spencer Howard (0-3, 5.61). Flexen won all three of his previous starts against Texas this season, most recently on July 4. Howard will make his third start since being acquired in a July 30 trade with Philadelphia. He held Seattle scoreless on two hits through three innings on Aug. 11 in a no-decision.
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