Seattle Mariners

J-Rod goes deep to help Mariners win for 6th time in 7 games, 7-5 over Rangers

SEATTLE — Julio Rodríguez hit a two-run homer, his second in three games, George Kirby allowed an unearned run over six innings and the Seattle Mariners held off the Texas Rangers 7-5 on Saturday.

Seattle won for the sixth time in seven games and won its ninth consecutive series at home dating to mid-April. The Mariners also increased their lead over the defending champion Rangers to 7 1/2 games in the AL West. It’s the largest division lead for Seattle at any point since June 18, 2003, when it also had a 7 1/2-game advantage.

“They’re a solid team, they were right there last year. You know they’re playing well,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “They have got a really good staff, and you have to play your best ball and execute when you’re playing against them.”

Kirby (6-5) didn’t give up a hit until Wyatt Langford’s infield single with one out in the fourth inning. Kirby leaned heavily on a fastball at the top of the strike zone and scattered three hits over six innings. Marcus Semien had an RBI double in the fifth inning, but Kirby finished his outing by striking out the side in the sixth.

“I was spraying it a little bit and those two walks were annoying,” Kirby said. “But I dialed it in when I needed to.”

Rodríguez hit a tying home run in the ninth inning Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox and his power has been on an uptick after a slow start. Rodríguez hit a 1-2 cutter from Texas starter Nathan Eovaldi (3-3) an estimated 412 feet for his seventh homer and a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

Dominic Canzone added a two-out RBI single later in the inning, and Cal Raleigh had an RBI single in the first inning as the Mariners knocked out the Texas starter after just three innings.

Josh Rojas had a solo homer in the seventh, his first long ball since April 28, and had a two-run single in the eighth that became critical because of a shaky ninth inning from Seattle’s relievers.

“They have a really good offense and you just got to pile it on as much as you can the whole game because you know at any point they can put together an inning like they did there in the ninth,” Rojas said.

Texas scored four times in the ninth on five hits and a walk and all four runs were charged to reliever Eduard Bazardo. Semien dropped a two-out, two-run single off Ryne Stanek to pull the Rangers to 7-5, but Tyler Locklear made a diving stop on Corey Seager’s grounder at first base and stepped on the bag for the final out.

“They hit some balls, they found some holes and I don’t want that to overshadow all the positives today and there really was a lot,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

Eovaldi allowed four runs, four hits and struck out six. But he also struggled with control with four walks in the 17 batters he faced. Eovaldi threw seven innings allowing two runs on five hits in his previous start against San Francisco.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: C Jonah Heim was placed on the paternity list. Sam Huff was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take his roster spot.

Mariners: 2B Jorge Polanco (hamstring) started a rehab stint on Saturday night with Single-A Everett. Polanco is scheduled to spend the weekend with Everett before transferring to Triple-A Tacoma next week.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Dane Dunning (4-5, 4.80) will try and rebound after allowing six runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in his last start.

Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert (3-4, 3.19) threw 6 2/3 shutout innings against Texas on April 23.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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