Rangers Take Series Opener from Mariners

Rangers Mariners
(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Rangers 8, Mariners 5

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Sep 22) — The Texas Rangers set the tone in their series with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, winning the opener 8–5. Home runs by Corey Seager and Evan Carter went a long way in deciding the outcome in this crucial contest with a playoff spot on the line. This was a big win for the Rangers as the Houston Astros fell to the Kansas City Royals, 7–5, moments before this contest wrapped up. This chain of events gives the Rangers a half-game lead atop the AL West. The middle game in this series is set for Saturday evening with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Righty Logan Gilbert (13–6, 3.77 ERA) will toe the slab for the Mariners, and Jordan Montgomery (9–11, 3.38 ERA) will get the ball for the Rangers.

Seager’s ‘Night Moves’

The Rangers broke the seal early in this one. Seager blasted one to right-center on the first pitch that he saw from Mariners starter Bryce Miller. They stretched it to 4–0 in the bottom of the second. After singles by Jonah Heim and Leody Taveras, Carter deposited one to right-center for his third home run of the year. The Rangers scored again in the bottom of the fifth, this time off Mariners reliever Tayler Saucedo. Carter crossed the plate on a force out grounded into by Nathaniel Lowe. Three batters later, Heim drove in Lowe with a bases-loaded walk to make it 6–0 Rangers.

Mariners Claw Back

That forced Mariners manager Scott Servais to go to the bullpen once more. Trent Thornton was brought in to relieve Saucedo. On deck was Mitch Garver, who promptly plated Josh Jung with a single to center.

The Mariners cut the Rangers lead in half in the top of the sixth off Rangers starter Dane Dunning. After an infield single by J.P. Crawford and a hit-by-pitch to Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh stepped in and hit a three-run dinger to right-center.

Two batters later, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy brought in Chris Stratton to relieve Dunning. With Eugenio Suarez on base via a single, Stratton walked Jarred Kelenic. Next he surrendered a single to right to Dominic Canzone to load the bases. The next batter was Josh Rojas, who drew a walk that allowed Suarez to score.

The Mariners added a little drama in the top of the ninth. With a new pitcher on the mound for the Rangers in the person of Aroldis Chapman, Crawford scored on a single to right by Suarez. The Rangers breathed a little easier, however, when a groundout by Ty France ended the game.

Good Effort by Dunning

Dunning earned his 11th win of the season out of 24 starts. His line on the evening was 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R-ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 76 pitches/51 strikes. His record is now 11–6 with an ERA of 3.88. Dunning exited the game with an 8–3 lead, but Stratton allowed his inherited runner to score. Dunning has pitched five-plus innings in 18 of his 24 starts, including all four of his starts in September. His career-high 11 wins are tied with Nathan Eovaldi for the team lead and are 12th-most in the AL. No save was recorded.

Miller took the loss for the Mariners. He now owns a record of 8–6 with an ERA of 4.17. Miller gave up six runs, all earned, in 4 1/3 innings. It is the most runs he has allowed since August 1 against the Boston Red Sox. (6 R-ER). Miller has allowed five-plus in two of his last three starts. He is now 0-2 with an ERA of 17.55 in two starts at Globe Life Field in 2023. Friday raised his season ERA from 3.83 to 4.17.

Postgame Comments

After the game, Bochy discussed the importance of Dunning’s start. He said, “It’s always good to get a good start. That’s where the momentum is really created. He gave us a great effort. There were a couple of instances where he missed his spots, but for five innings he was on his game. On the other side, it’s always good to get timely runs. You had Corey’s (Seager) home run, and you had (Evan) Carter’s three-run homer. I really liked the way they kept adding on. They had really good at-bats. You talk about the home runs, but we had a couple of really big walks too. Carter led off the inning, Jonah (Heim) had that big walk with the bases loaded, so the offense did a really good job. As tempting as it might be this time of year, you can’t fixate on the out-of-town scoreboard. We’re aware that Houston lost, and what that means for us, but we still have nine to go.”

Moments after Bochy exited, Dunning took his seat in the interview room and reflected on his start. He said, “I felt really good. I was able to work quickly, and I was efficient with my pitches. The quicker I worked, the quicker our guys could get back up to the plate and get us some runs. I thought our guys did a really good job getting those runs, and it makes my job a little easier and it’s fun to watch.”


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