SEATTLE -- A seven-run eruption in the seventh inning and six strong frames from rookie right-hander Chase De Jong added up to an 8-2 victory for the Mariners on Saturday as they evened their series with the Rangers at Safeco Field.
After struggling to come up with a clutch hit in a 13-inning, 3-1 loss Friday and the first six innings Saturday, Seattle broke things open with a bases-loaded, two-run single by Danny Valencia, an RBI double by Taylor Motter and a pair of singles and two RBIs by Ben Gamel off a trio of Texas pitchers in the seventh.
"Scoring seven in the seventh? That's a good omen," said Gamel, who has hit .325 in 10 games since replacing the injured Mitch Haniger in right field. "We can really turn it over when everybody is clicking."
Martin Perez sailed through six innings with just one run for the Rangers, but hurt his own cause in the seventh when he gave up the first of Gamel's hits and then had a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. That brought in relievers Keone Kela and Dario Alvarez, but the worn-down Rangers bullpen couldn't stem the tide. More >>
De Jong was much better in his second Major League start in place of the injured Felix Hernandez, allowing just four hits and one run in six innings after getting knocked out after 2 2/3 innings in his rotation debut in Cleveland last weekend. More >>
Joey Gallo touched De Jong for his lone run with a second-inning solo shot, but the 23-year-old allowed just two baserunners the rest of the way in an efficient 75-pitch outing. Mike Napoli accounted for the Rangers' other run with a ninth-inning homer off Dan Altavilla.
"Situation where we faced a guy we haven't seen much and he really did a good job against us,' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of De Jong. "Kept us off-balance and from getting the barrel on the ball. Not much in the way of consistency from our offense tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Little things add up: Runs had been hard to come by in this chilly Safeco Field series, but the Mariners took advantage of a single by Gamel, the throwing error on Perez on Tuffy Gosewisch's sacrifice bunt and an infield single by Jean Segura to load the bases in the seventh, then broke the 1-1 tie when reliever Kela nailed Guillermo Heredia in the arm with a 94-mph fastball and Robinson Cano followed with a sacrifice fly off Alvarez. Seattle then busted things wide open with Valencia, Motter and Gamel's run-scoring hits in succession.
"We'll take it any way we can, and then it kind of opened the floodgates after that," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Heredia's bases-loaded hit by pitch. "There were a lot of good at-bats. We got the bunt down, took advantage of their mistake and then we just piled on after that. It was good. Good win, nice crowd, a good night."
Gallo goes deep:The Rangers big third baseman hit his 10th home run of the season in the second with a blast to right-center that traveled an estimated 428 feet off an exit velocity of 112 miles per hour, Gallo has hit a home run in three of his last five games and has eight in his last 17 games.
"When you are here and the weather is like it is, anytime you can get a run across it's big," Gallo said. "Hopefully there's more to come, I'm still working on getting back into a groove at the plate."
"Our young players continue to just grow. think they realize they have an opportunity and they're taking it and running with it. I tip my hat to our veteran guys as well to get those guys as comfortable as they have as quick as they got here, from Chase De Jong and you look all over the field. There are young guys running around and it's fun to watch." -- Servais
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Utility man Motter got the start in left field for Seattle and doubled in the fourth on a ball that deflected off the third-base bag, then added his RBI double in the seventh. The rookie is batting just .240, but of his 18 hits this season, 14 have gone for extra bases (nine doubles, five home runs). He also made a nice running catch Saturday.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers:Right-hander Andrew Cashner pitches against the Mariners at 3:10 p.m. CT on Sunday. Cashner is 0-3 in four starts for the Rangers this season and he is 0-3 in four starts against the Mariners in his career.
Mariners: With James Paxton sidelined by a forearm strain, lefty Dillon Overton will get the start in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT series finale against the Rangers. Overton has a 6.14 ERA over 7 1/3 innings in four relief appearances.