Late lead vanishes for Rangers in loss to Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — When the ball left Adrian Beltre’s bat, Elvis Andrus’ first thought was whether he could score from first base.
The last thing he expected was for Justin Smoak to make a diving catch and double him off for the final outs in Seattle’s 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
"I knew I would have scored in that situation," Andrus said. "That was the hit we were looking for all night."
Instead of celebrating a ninth-inning rally, the Rangers were lamenting an eighth-inning meltdown by their bullpen that allowed Seattle to score four times and end Texas’ three-game winning streak. The Rangers went to the eighth leading 3-2 only to watch reliever Neal Cotts (1-2) give up four runs without getting an out.
The big blow came from Smoak, who lined a two-run double down the left-field line that was just out of the reach of Michael Choice. Robinson Cano and pinch-runner Michael Saunders scored to give Seattle the lead.
Kyle Seager followed with an RBI single off Cotts before Alexi Ogondo took over and threw a wild pitch that allowed another run to score.
"I thought he had a good cutter working tonight, he just couldn’t keep it on the plate," Texas manager Ron Washington said of Cotts. "I thought he was the right guy in the right situation there and things just didn’t go his way."
Seattle scored in the eighth for the first time this season, having been outscored 18-0 in the inning. The Mariners had not won two straight since their three-game sweep of the Angels to open the season.
"We wanted Smoak on the right side and he beat us," Washington said. "It didn’t work."
For most of the night, it appeared Robbie Ross Jr., was going to pick up his second win in two weeks against Seattle. Ross threw six innings, giving up six hits and two runs. He has gone 84 batters without issuing a walk.
His lone trouble came in the fifth inning when he hit Abraham Almonte with a two-out pitch and gave up a single to Willie Bloomquist. Cano followed by lining a double off the wall in left-center, scoring both runners. It was his fourth double of the season and fifth extra-base hit.
"It’s frustrating because he is a batter (who) rips," Ross said. "It’s frustrating because you want to get the guys before you have to face him."
Even after Seattle took the lead, Texas had its chances in the ninth when closer Fernando Rodney struggled. Rodney got his fourth save, but only after loading the bases and walking Choice and Andrus to force in runs that cut Seattle’s lead to 6-5.
That’s when Beltre’s bid for a go-ahead hit was denied by Smoak.
"I kind of blacked out there for a second. Just jumped and stretched as far as I could stretch and it went into the glove," Smoak said.
Seattle relievers Dominic Leone and Yoervis Medina (1-1) bridged the late innings after starter Roenis Elias lasted 5 2-3 innings. Leone’s wild pitch that allowed Prince Fielder to score with two outs in the sixth was the difference until the late rally.
Texas got two of its first three runs thanks to wild pitches. Beltre also had an RBI double in the fourth in his first game off the disabled list.
NOTES: Texas C J.P. Arencibia snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a double leading off the third. It was his third hit of the season and first since April 6. … Injured Seattle LHP James Paxton threw for the first time since straining a back muscle this month. Paxton threw from 45 feet. Injured RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder) is expected to start throwing on Monday. … Seattle Seahawks DE Michael Bennett threw out the ceremonial first pitch.