It looked like Robinson Cano put the Seattle Mariners in position for a big ninth-inning comeback Sunday. Instead, he got thrown out trying for a double to end the game.
Seattle was down by three going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Ketel Marte doubled with one out, then with two outs Cano lined a ball to the right field corner. Marte scored easily, but a loose piece of equipment slowed Cano just enough for right fielder Nomar Mazara to throw him out at second base to preserve the Texas Rangers’ 6-4 win.
“I stepped on my shin guard,” Cano said. “I stepped like three times on it, so I had to slow down because I didn’t want to roll my ankle. That’s a ball where even when it doesn’t go that far, I make it standing into second base.”
It was a rough end to a tough series for Seattle. After winning the opener on Friday against the AL West-leading Rangers, the Mariners lost Saturday in extra innings and on Sunday found themselves behind 6-1 after six innings. They weren’t able to finish a comeback. The Mariners are now five games behind the Rangers in the division.
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“Disappointing series,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We had some chances throughout the series to try to get over the hump and they just didn’t happen. But that is going to happen at times. I thought we were right there.”
Cole Hamels (6-1) became the seventh active pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts in the third inning when he got Leonys Martin swinging. It was one of five strikeouts for Hamels, who allowed one run on four hits in seven innings.
Hamels has now lasted seven innings in each of his last three starts, although he ended up with no-decisions in the previous two. Hamels has won nine straight decisions against AL West opponents, and has won four straight against Seattle. He has given up one run or less in four of his 13 starts.
“Hamels was very, very good today,” Servais said. “He had everything going and pitched us very tough.”
Martin homered for the Mariners, who have now lost eight of their last 12 games. The solo shot in the fifth inning was Martin’s 10th home run of the season.
The Rangers took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. Elvis Andrus hit a run-scoring double down the third-base line, followed by Mitch Moreland’s two-run home run. It was Moreland’s ninth homer and third of the series; he hit two against the Mariners on Friday.
Texas picked up another three runs in the sixth. Andrus hit a RBI single, and Ian Desmond singled with the bases loaded to drive in two more.
Seattle starter Wade Miley (6-3) allowed three runs on four hits in five innings and picked up his first loss since April 19. Miley had won his last six decisions.
“ ‘’Just really didn’t have a fastball,” Miley said. “I think I did a pretty good job getting the off-speed over for strikes and being able to pitch off that stuff and using the fastball here and there. Just didn’t have it.”
The Mariners showed some offensive life in the eighth inning after Hamels left, helped out by the Rangers’ bullpen. With two outs and the bases loaded, Jake Diekman hit Kyle Seager with a pitch and then walked Chris Iannetta to give Seattle two runs before Martin grounded out to end the inning.
Mariners: OF Nori Aoki was out of the starting lineup after being hit on the right knee by a pitch in Saturday’s game, but he did pinch hit in the ninth inning.
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker (3-6, 3.48 ERA) will start against Tampa Bay on Tuesday to start a 10-game road trip for Seattle.