Morrison’s tiebreaking double helps Mariners beat Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Logan Morrison thought he was just having tough luck at the plate this season.
An infield hit and a tiebreaking, two-run double down the right-field line against Wandy Rodriguez seemed to change things.
Morrison finished 4 for 5 to raise his batting average to .194 and back Felix Hernandez in the Seattle Mariners’ 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
“I feel like I’ve had some tough (at-bats), but at the same time I’ve been swinging the bat better,” Morrison said. “They found holes tonight.”
Morrison also improved to 7 for 14 in his career against Rodriguez.
The Rangers kept the left-handed starter in to face the lefty-hitting Morrison with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning and Morrison hit a grounder that eluded the reach of first baseman Kyle Blanks and went into the right-field corner as two runs scored.
Morrison said he was thinking, “Don’t get doubled up.
“It got through. Then they gave me a double and . ooh, I’ll take it.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister wasn’t so sure it was a double. On a night when Texas was charged with four errors, he thought they might have had another.
“That ball down the line, that’s a play we need to make,” he said.
Blanks was making his first appearance with the Rangers after they purchased his contract from Triple-A Round Rock. Regular first baseman Mitch Moreland underwent elbow surgery earlier in the day.
Hernandez allowed five hits, two runs and one walk in 6 2-3 innings to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2009. Hernandez threw a season-high 114 pitches. He is 14-21 against Texas in his career, but 2-0 in 2015.
“He didn’t have his best stuff,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Not even close. He gutted it out. He’s a competitor. And got us through 6 2-3.”
Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth inning for his seventh save in eight opportunities. He saved all three games as the Mariners swept the series for their first three-game winning streak this season. Rodney has pitched in four straight games.
“I really wanted to stay away from him,” McClendon said. “It is what it is.”
Seattle’s Nelson Cruz was 2 for 4, including his 10th home run to lead off the second inning. The homer went into the club level in left field, where only 19 homers have gone in 22 seasons. Cruz, a former Ranger, has hit three of those.
He is tied with Boston’s Hanley Ramirez for the major league lead this season.
“King” Felix Hernandez broke Jamie Moyer’s Mariners record for career innings pitched when Jake Smolinski grounded out for the second out in the fifth inning. Hernandez has 2,095 1-3 innings for his career, all with Seattle.
His four strikeouts left him one short of Johan Santana’s record of 1,988 by a pitcher born in Venezuela.
Mariners 2B Robinson Cano went 0 for 5 to complete an 0 for 13 series that dropped his batting average from .288 to .244.
Mariners: 3B Kyle Seager was not in the starting lineup because of a sore thumb that has been bothering since he jammed it while swinging at an inside pitch last week. Seager entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth to keep alive a streak of 147 straight games played.
Rangers: Moreland underwent surgery to remove a loose particle from his left elbow. He went on the disabled list retroactive to Tuesday, and is expected back next month.
Mariners: A 10-game trip continues on Thursday with the first of four games at Houston. LHP James Paxton (0-2, 6.86) is scheduled to make his first start against the Astros.
Rangers: They’ll be at home on Friday against Oakland. RHP Colby Lewis (1-2, 3.75) is 7-1 with a 2.86 ERA in his last 12 starts vs. the Athletics dating back to 2010.