SEATTLE — Top prospect Josh Jung hit two home runs and finished with five RBI, and the Seattle Mariners continued slumping in their quest for a postseason berth in a 5-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Despite the defeat, the Mariners inched closer to ending the longest playoff drought in baseball thanks to Boston’s victory over Baltimore. The loss by the Orioles kept them 3 1/2 games behind Seattle and reduced its magic number to five for clinching one of the three American League wild cards.
But Seattle failed to take advantage of Toronto’s defeat and lost ground to Tampa Bay as the three teams continue to jockey for positioning entering the final week of the season.
Seattle lost for the eighth time in 11 games, returning home after an awful road trip. The Mariners went 3-7 and capped the swing by blowing a nine-run lead in a 13-12 loss to Kansas City.
The Mariners hoped returning home would ease the frustration, but Seattle’s woes continued. The Mariners were held to one run or less for the seventh time in 13 games.
And Jung made sure the Rangers had enough offense on their end.
Jung hit a solo homer in the second inning off Seattle starter Robbie Ray, and his two-out RBI single on a 3-2 pitch in the sixth scored Marcus Semien.
Then came the final blow in the eighth. Jung greeted reliever Diego Castillo with a three-run homer to center field for his first career multi-homer game.
Texas used Jesús Tinoco as an opener before Tyson Miller (1-1) took over. The pair allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts.
Ray (12-11) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits. He struck out eight and walked two. Most times this season, two earned runs allowed would be enough for a win but not with the current slump for Seattle’s offense.
Rangers: Miller was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Right-handed starter Dane Dunning was placed on the 15-day injured list after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery Monday. Texas also transferred LHP Brett Martin from the bereavement list to the 15-day IL with a shoulder strain.
Mariners: 3B Eugenio Suárez was activated off the 10-day injured list after breaking his right index finger on the road trip. OF Taylor Trammell was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. Suárez was the designated hitter in his return and took grounders during pregame infield to see how the finger responded to throwing and fielding. … OF Julio Rodríguez (back strain) could start baseball activity toward the end of the week with the goal of coming off the injured list next Monday when he becomes eligible.
Rangers: LHP Martín Pérez (12-6, 2.90 ERA) makes his 31st start and has won his past two decisions. Pérez had a no-decision in his last outing, allowing three runs over six inning against the Angels.
Mariners: RHP George Kirby (7-4, 3.30) looks to rebound from his worst start of the season when he lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs against Oakland. Kirby walked three against the A’s after walking three batters in his previous six starts combined.