Cruz's 33rd HR backs Felix's AL-best 14th win

Cruz's 33rd HR backs Felix's AL-best 14th win

SEATTLE -- Jesus Montero hit a two-run home run in the fourth and Nelson Cruz followed with a solo shot two innings later as the Mariners beat the Rangers, 4-2, to earn a series win on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the third when Felix Hernandez skipped a pitch past catcher Mike Zunino to allow Shin-Soo Choo to score from third. Hernandez settled down from there, striking out five over seven innings to earn his 14th win of the season, tying him with the Pirates' Gerrit Cole for the Major League lead.

"Sure, I believe Felix has a run in him," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon when asked if Hernandez has a shot at the American League Cy Young. "He may run the table, you never know. He's certainly not out of it. By no means."

Rangers starter Colby Lewis struck out six and allowed five hits and three earned runs over eight innings but saw his win streak snapped at three games after two of those hits went for home runs. Texas' lineup didn't generate much support, going 0-for-9 with RISP and leaving 10 runners on base.

"Colby had a very good outing," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It was not one where he came out on top but we knew it was going to be a struggle early. We seemed to be on him early but we let it get away in the middle innings."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cruz crushes another one: Cruz kept his bat red hot to lead off the sixth inning, launching an 0-1 fastball up in the zone from Lewis 410 feet to left for his 33rd home run of the season. The blast, which gave Seattle a 4-2 lead, extended Cruz's hitting streak to 19 games. He also has had an extra-base hit in nine straight games, bringing him within a game of Ken Griffey Jr.'s club record 10-game streak from 1993.

"I guess my approach is just right," Cruz said of his streak. "I go where the pitch is [thrown]."

Cruz's solo blast

Montero's mash: With one out in the fourth inning, Montero launched an 0-1 slider from Lewis 374 feet to left for his second home run of the season. The two-run shot gave the Mariners the lead and made Sunday's game Lewis' eighth straight in which he has allowed at least one home run.

Montero's two-run shot

Failure to communicate: Catcher Bobby Wilson dropped Mark Trumbo's high pop to lead off the third after first baseman Mitch Moreland didn't call off Wilson. Lewis picked the ball up but didn't notice Trumbo was trying for second. Lewis would have had him easily but threw too late, and Trumbo ended up scoring on a two-out single by Ketel Marte.

"That proved to be costly," Banister said.

Marte's first RBI

Hernandez stifles Beltre: Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre likes to talk trash with Hernandez during games. They were once teammates on the Mariners. But Hernandez is getting the better of Beltre lately. He has won three straight starts over the Rangers and Beltre has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats off him.

Felix's strong start

QUOTABLE
"I don't even know where we would be without him. He's been tremendous on and off the field. It's unbelievable what he's accomplished this year. You look up at the board and it's almost jaw-dropping. You see the numbers. The slugging percentage, the OPS, it's off the charts." -- McClendon on Cruz

McClendon on 4-2 win

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This was Lewis' eighth complete game for the Rangers since 2010 but he has now lost three of them. In all three cases, he pitched eight innings in a losing effort on the road. More >

Lewis goes eight innings

Banister tossed
Banister was thrown out of the game in the eighth inning by home plate umpire Lance Barrett for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It is the third time Banister has been thrown out this season. More >

Banister's ejection

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After hitting a 1-1 sinker weakly over to first base to lead off the ninth inning, second baseman Rougned Odor hustled down the line and was called safe by umpire Dale Scott. McClendon challenged the safe the call, which stood after a short review.

Odor ruled safe after review

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: The Rangers are off on Monday before opening a three-game series with the Twins at 7:10 p.m. CT Tuesday at Target Field. Yovani Gallardo beat the Astros in his last start to snap a three-game losing streak. He is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA in seven career starts against the Twins.

Mariners: Left-hander Vidal Nuno (0-0, 2.88 ERA) will make his second start of the season as the Mariners open up a three-game series with the Orioles on Monday night at 7:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. In his first start on Tuesday, Nuno earned a no-decision, allowing three runs over 3 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 with an 11.17 ERA in three career games -- one start -- against the Orioles.

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Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.