SEATTLE — Shin-Soo Choo’s sacrifice fly broke a tie in the eighth inning, Elvis Andrus followed with an RBI single and the Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Tuesday night to boost their slim playoff chances.
The Rangers won their second straight after a five-game losing streak and pulled within 3 1/2 games of Minnesota for the second American League wild card.
Pinch-hitter Carlos Gomez, slowed for the past week by a sprained ankle, led off the eighth with a double against Nick Vincent (3-3). Delino DeShields beat out a bunt single and Choo followed with a fly ball deep enough that pinch-runner Will Middlebrooks scored easily to give Texas the lead.
Andrus added a broken-bat single that scored DeShields.
Seattle lost its fourth straight and squandered an opportunity to move within three games of Minnesota. And it was a major baserunning mistake that came back to bite the Mariners.
With one out and runners at the corners in the seventh inning, Yonder Alonso was caught too far off third base as Guillermo Heredia pulled back on a bunt attempt. Alonso was easily thrown out by catcher Robinson Chirinos. Heredia eventually singled against Tony Barnette (2-1), but Ben Gamel popped out to end the threat.
Alex Claudio pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
Texas starter Martin Perez and Seattle counterpart Mike Leake were both excellent but didn’t figure in the decision.
Leake allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings, scattering six hits and striking out five. His only major trouble came in the second when Adrian Beltre led off with a single, advanced to third on Nomar Mazara’s double and scored on Joey Gallo’s groundout. Leake limited the damage to just that run and immediately went on a roll, retiring 14 of the next 15 before Andrus reached on an infield single with two outs in the sixth. Leake has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his four starts since being acquired by the Mariners from St. Louis.
Perez also allowed just one earned run on Gamel’s RBI double in the fifth. He gave up four hits and struck out four, pitching at least six innings for the seventh time in nine starts.
Seattle manager Scott Servais said the club is out of time for right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to return this season. Iwakuma has been rehabbing for months trying to come back from shoulder troubles that first popped up in May. Iwakuma went on the disabled list May 10 and never returned. Servais said the pitcher is seeking opinions about whether surgery might be needed in order to correct the problem.
Back at it
Gomez did some running before the game and manager Jeff Banister said he wanted Gomez to do more defensive drills pregame before putting him back in the outfield.
Rangers: Andrew Cashner (9-10) will make his 26th start of the season. Cashner is 6-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 12 starts since July 5. But he is 1-4 in his career against Seattle.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (5-4) makes his second start since coming off the disabled list. Hernandez will likely be in the range of 70 or 80 pitches.