SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano launched back-to-back home runs in the sixth as the Mariners slugged their way to a 4-3, series-opening win over the Rangers on Friday night at Safeco Field.
Texas' Mitch Moreland scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead, but the Mariners responded with solo shots from Mark Trumbo, Cruz and Cano to pull ahead and spoil what had been a strong start by Cole Hamels, who allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings to take his first loss in a Rangers uniform.
"He's a pretty good pitcher," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon of Hamels. "I think we were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and that's a tribute to him making quality pitches."
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma struggled early, throwing 52 pitches over his first two innings, but kept the damage to three runs as he lasted seven innings for the third time in his last four starts. The 34-year-old righty threw a career-high 118 pitches to notch his third win of the season.
"We had some opportunities early against Iwakuma but then we got impatient in the later innings," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I thought Cole threw the ball well but there were three pitches he didn't get where he wanted to three guys with power who can hit the ball out of the park."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Catchers continue to produce: The Rangers makeshift catching situation continues to produce offensively as Bobby Wilson had a two-run double in the second inning. Rangers catchers have seven RBIs in their last four games since Wilson and Chris Gimenez were added to the roster on Friday.
Balk in business: The Mariners have seen a recent uptick in run production, but they brought in their first run of the ballgame thanks to some help not from their own bats, but from Hamels. With one out in the third inning and runners on the corners, Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte appeared to be hung up between first and second base after a pickoff move from Hamels, but home plate umpire Toby Basner called a balk on the Rangers' starter. The balk, which was the ninth of Hamels' career and his first of the season, allowed Marte to advance to second and Logan Morrison to score to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Cruz, Cano blast off: After a Mark Trumbo home run to center cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth, Cruz and Cano launched back-to-back homers with no outs in the sixth to give the Mariners their first lead of the ballgame. Cruz's home run, which traveled 400 feet to left center, extended his hitting streak to 17 games, a team high this season. Cano, who drove a 3-1 fastball from Hamels 422 feet to center, has hit 10 of his 12 home runs in the last 37 games. More >
Odor spoils bunt: The Rangers were trailing, 4-3, when Rougned Odor led off the eighth inning with a bunt single against left-hander Joe Beimel. But, with Prince Fielder at the plate, Odor was picked off by Beimel at first base.
"Young mistake," Banister said. "We had Beimel in [Spring Training], we know his pickoff move. We want to let Prince swing the bat. It was an anxious move and he got caught off."
"Oh, power? Yeah [power's a good thing], especially when we have the power." -- McClendon, on his team's three home runs
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Fielder was 0-for-4 and did not drive in a run on Friday night. The Rangers are 28-14 in games that Fielder drives in a run. They are 26-38 when he doesn't get an RBI.
Rangers don't get requested review
The Rangers opened the fourth inning with singles by Moreland and Josh Hamilton. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a grounder at Morrison, who threw to second to get the force on Hamilton. The Rangers challenged the call at second, insisting that Marte was not on the bag when he took the throw. When the review was made, it was determined that the play was not reviewable because it was a "neighborhood" play. The Rangers were left with runners at the corners. Elvis Andrus popped out to short right but Moreland still ended up scoring on a wild pitch. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Road team: Left-hander Martin Perez makes his fifth start since coming off the disabled list when he pitches against the Mariners at 3:10 p.m. (CT) Saturday at Safeco Field. Perez will make his first start against the Mariners since Aug. 28, 2013, but is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in six career games against them.
Mariners:Mike Montgomery (4-4, 3.07 ERA) makes his 13th start of the season against with the Rangers at 1:10 p.m. PT. The 26-year-old lefty, who will face the Rangers for the first time in his career, earned a no-decision on Aug. 1 against the Twins, allowing one run over six innings. He is in search of his first win since July 5.