ARLINGTON, Texas — Raul Ibanez and the Seattle Mariners were oh so close to a rare series sweep at Texas.
Ibanez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh, but the Rangers scored four times in the bottom half of the inning and went on to a 5-4 victory on Thursday night.
The Mariners outscored the Rangers 13-4 while winning the first two games of the series. They had 14 hits in the finale, but went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on base.
“We had some good at-bats and some hard outs,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “But we’ve got to do a better job with runners in scoring position,”
Ibanez connected for his 12th homer in his last 28 games, lifting his total to 21 for the year. The 41-year-old slugger went 4 for 5 with three RBI in his first four-hit game since June 8, 2010.
Hisashi Iwakuma, who came in leading the AL in ERA, allowed four runs and five hits in six-plus innings. The Japanese right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA in his last four starts.
“(Iwakuma) was good,” Wedge said. “He was motoring right along going into the seventh inning.”
Kyle Seager added three hits for the Mariners, who were trying for their first series sweep at Texas since April 12-15, 2002.
“We were so close,” Ibanez said. “But we did win the series against a really good team. I’ll take the positive.”
Adrian Beltre hit a pair of solo homers for the Rangers, and Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus each drove in a run.
The Rangers had scored four runs or fewer in their last six games.
“I think the last couple of days we haven’t been able to get the big hit,” said Beltre, who had three hits and two RBI. “Obviously, that’s what you’re looking for when you hit in the middle of the lineup. Today was a better day, even though it was late.”
With Texas trailing 3-1, Beltre led off the seventh with a drive to center against Iwakuma (7-4). A.J. Pierzynski then singled and Lance Berkman walked before Moreland bounced a tying single up the middle against Charlie Furbush.
Andrus came up with a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Ian Kinsler capped the big inning with an RBI single.
Josh Lindblom (1-2) recorded the final two outs of the seventh to pick up his first win since Aug. 31, 2012.
“This is a place where you feel no lead is safe,” Ibanez said. “When you’re playing against them, you know they are going to score runs.”
Ibanez hit an RBI single off Tanner Scheppers in the eighth to get Seattle within one, but Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 28th save in 29 chances.
Beltre led off the second with his first home run since June 9.
The Mariners tied it with an unearned run in the sixth. Seager and Justin Smoak singled leading off the inning, and Seager scored on a throwing error by second baseman Kinsler, snapping Martin Perez’s scoreless stretch at 16 2/3 innings.
Perez allowed an unearned run in 5 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old rookie gave up eight hits, struck out four and walked two in his fourth start of the season.
NOTES: Andrus was dropped to the eighth spot in the lineup. The All-Star shortstop is batting .196 since June 1. “I’m still in the lineup and I’ll do my best to help the team win,” Andrus said. … Wedge said that OF Michael Saunders (right finger) will start Friday when the Mariners play the Cincinnati Reds. Saunders was out of the starting lineup for a sixth straight game. … Beltre passed Joe DiMaggio for 75th on the career list with 362 home runs.