Andrus, Profar spark Rangers' sweep of Mariners in 3-2 win
Texas Rangers' Jurickson Profar celebrates his run-scoring single that came off a pitch from Seattle Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma in the fifth inning of a baseball game on, Sunday, June 5, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. The hit scored Jared Hoying. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) A daring dash from Elvis Andrus put Jurickson Profar in position to come through in his second game as the replacement for benched Texas slugger Prince Fielder.
Andrus scored the tying run on a short sacrifice fly when he appeared to fool Seattle left fielder Stefen Romero, and Profar had a tiebreaking single to give the Rangers a 3-2 win Sunday and a three-game sweep of the series between the top two teams in the AL West.
The three-run burst in the fifth inning sent Texas to its 12th win in 15 games.
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''We talk about the freebies,'' said manager Jeff Banister, whose team is an AL-best 34-22. ''I know early on in the season, we were aggressive in certain situations and it seemed to cost us. But the one thing that we never shy away from is to continue to stay aggressive, push the envelope.''
Andrus trotted off the bag after Romero caught Bobby Wilson's shallow flyball, but took off in a sprint just as Romero was about to make an easy toss in. The lofty throw skipped past catcher Chris Iannetta as Elvis was sliding head-first into home.
''I know it was a shallow flyball, but I tagged because you never know what's going to happen,'' Andrus said. ''As soon as I saw he got a little bit lazy, I just took off to home plate. I took my chances and I was glad I made it.''
Derek Holland (5-4) allowed two runs – on former teammate Nelson Cruz's two-run homer in the fourth – with six strikeouts in seven innings, both season highs for the left-hander.
Closer Sam Dyson pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances as the Rangers moved three games ahead of the Mariners after a series that started with the teams tied for the division lead.
Profar, who had two singles, now has hits in all nine games with a .390 average in the leadoff spot since he was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to fill in for Rougned Odor during the second baseman's seven-game suspension.
Odor's return prompted Profar's move to DH to replace Fielder, who is hitting .187 with one homer in his past 39 games.
Two of the three runs against Hisashi Iwakuma (4-5) were unearned in the fifth, when the Mariners made two errors. The right-hander gave up four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
''He was rolling until they made an error and we made him pay,'' said Profar, the former top prospect who missed the past two major league seasons with shoulder problems.
Odor, in his second game back from the suspension for punching Toronto's Jose Bautista in a May 15 brawl, started the decisive inning by sliding past the diving tag of first baseman Dae-Ho Lee on a bunt single.
Andrus reached on shortstop Luis Sardinas' error and went to third on Jared Hoying's RBI single. After Andrus' mad dash that also moved Hoying to second, Romero overran Profar's single for an error when he charged the ball trying to set up for a throw to get Hoying.
''When you let down a little bit mentally, it will get you,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said. ''That's what it is for me, more the mental mistake, not so much the errors.''
HOME ON A ROLL
The Rangers had already tied a franchise record with nine straight home series victories by taking the first two against the Mariners, who lost a road series for the first time this year. They won nine straight at home in August-September 1993. The last home series loss was the season-opening set against the Mariners, who won two after losing on opening day.
Mariners: CF Leonys Martin (strained left hamstring) is close to going on a rehab assignment, likely this week with Triple-A Tacoma. He visited his old teammates in the Texas clubhouse before the game, prompting Fielder to yell at him jokingly to ''get out.''
Rangers: RF Shin-Soo Choo (left hamstring strain) was expected to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Frisco on Sunday night.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (0-1, 7.36) makes his second start filling in for injured ace Felix Hernandez in the opener of a four-game series against Cleveland at home.
Rangers: 36-year-old RHP Colby Lewis (5-0, 3.09), off to the best start of his career, faces Houston and tries to become the first member of Texas' season-opening rotation to open at 6-0 since Alexi Ogando in 2011.