SEATTLE -- Runs have been hard to come by for the Mariners this season, but they managed just enough Friday to help Felix Hernandez to his first win of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
Hernandez delighted a Safeco Field crowd of 41,855 with a strong 7 1/3-inning outing, allowing six hits with one run and three strikeouts. Hernandez didn't walk a batter for his third straight start as he improved to 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA, the lone run coming on a Nomar Mazara RBI single in the sixth. More >>
"We didn't get a lot of breaks tonight, but we won the ballgame," said Mariners skipper Scott Servais. "That's a good sign. The guys just kept grinding and fighting and that's what it's going to take. We've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole. We've got enough talent to get ourselves out of it, but it's got to start right now."
Martin Perez (1-1, 2.20 ERA) wound up with a no-decision for Texas, throwing five-plus innings with six hits, one run, four walks and four strikeouts before being lifted with two on in the sixth.
"Obviously, he'll look back at this game and think about how he can be more efficient, throw more strikes, pitch to more contact, get the ball on the ground," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of Perez. "But the high fastball tonight, he threw just enough of them that he was able to get the ball off the barrel when he needed to."
The Rangers escaped that jam when Jose Leclerc struck out the next three batters, but Seattle pushed the go-ahead run across in the seventh on an RBI single off the top of the wall by rookie Mitch Haniger. More >>
Seattle (3-8) avoided its worst start since 1978 with the win, while Texas (4-6) saw its two-game win streak snapped.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Boomstick awakens: The Mariners need Nelson Cruz's production in the middle of their order and the big man finally delivered his first long ball of the season with a solo shot in the fourth. Cruz turned around a 95-mph fastball from Perez and drove it on a line over the center-field fence, a projected 409-footer per Statcast™. Cruz now has three career homers vs. Perez in 12 at-bats. It was Cruz's 800th career RBI.
"No doubt, the first one is important to get to the other ones," said Cruz, who has hit 87 homers in his previous two seasons with Seattle. "Especially to give the lead to Felix. It was nice to get the 'W.'"
Home run turned single: The Mariners played some small ball when Jarrod Dyson singled to lead off the seventh and Guillermo Heredia dropped a bunt that a diving Leclerc couldn't field cleanly. Haniger then looked like he was going to play long ball, but instead what initially was ruled a three-run homer turned into a one-run single when the review showed the ball hitting the yellow line atop the fence in left. Heredia had inexplicably tagged up at first on the play and stopped at second, so Haniger was given a single and the rally stopped there when Robinson Cano popped out and Cruz hit into a double play.
"Off the bat, I really didn't know," Haniger said. "I was just trying to get a ball in the air. Sac fly is what was on my mind. I hit it pretty well, but I didn't know."
"Eddie Diaz has a good arm and he's letting people know that. He's also got a good slider, but what separates him is he can throw 100 mph and he was reminded of that the last couple days." -- Servais after Edwin Diaz struck out two in the ninth and stranded the tying run at third to notch his second save
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rangers failed to hit a home run Friday, marking the first time all season they have not gone deep.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After Dyson led off the bottom of the seventh inning for the Mariners and singled, he stole second base, barely beating out a throw from Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The Rangers challenged the safe call, but after a review of one minute, eight seconds, the call was confirmed.
Two batters after the Dyson call, Haniger's long fly ball to left field bounced back in play, but the umpires ruled it a three-run home run. The review showed that the ball caromed off the yellow line at the top of the wall, so the call was overturned after a review of two minutes and 11 seconds and Haniger was put back on first base and credited with an RBI single.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers:Andrew Cashner will be activated from the disabled list (right biceps soreness) to make his Texas debut at 8:10 p.m. CT. Cashner, who pitched for Miami last season, signed with the Rangers as a free agent in November.
Mariners:James Paxton looks to continue his strong start to the season in Saturday's 6:10 p.m. PT game against the Rangers. Paxton has allowed just six hits with three walks and 13 strikeouts in 13 scoreless innings in two outings against the Astros.