SEATTLE (AP) — The season has yet to hit the quarter mark and the Texas Rangers have already won series on the road against the Angels, Astros and now the Mariners.
The case is getting stronger that the Rangers intend to be a contender in the division for quite a while.
“It means we’re good. I’ve said that,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “This is a really good team and these are good clubs were playing. You’ve got to play well in your division. But it’s early. We’re not going to rest on this.”
Marcus Semien homered and drove in a pair of runs, Dane Dunning allowed only two runs in six strong innings and the Rangers beat Seattle 4-3 on Wednesday.
Texas won its first series in Seattle in nearly four years, taking two of three from the Mariners. The last time the Rangers won a series in the Pacific Northwest was May 27-29, 2019.
“It feels good to finally scratch out a couple and win a couple of one-run games here,” Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe said.
The Rangers did it on the strength of their pitching. Jon Gray allowed one run over seven innings in a 2-1 victory in the series opener and Dunning posted a second consecutive solid performance since moving back into the Rangers’ rotation after Jacob deGrom landed on the injured list with an elbow injury.
Dunning (3-0) scattered six hits, struck out five and avoided any major trouble. Dunning threw five shutout innings in his first start for the Rangers last week against the Angels.
“I just got more confident as the game went on,” Dunning said. “I thought our pitch calling was phenomenal and I was just able to start executing pitches as it needed to be. I was able to get ahead of hitters in the later innings and was able to work off that.”
Semien’s solo home run led off the third inning, when the Rangers got to Seattle ace Luis Castillo. Lowe and Jonah Heim both had RBI doubles later in the inning, Heim’s coming with two outs. Castillo (2-1) needed 37 pitches to get out of the inning and was done after five innings. He struck out nine and allowed eight hits.
Semien added an RBI single off reliever Matt Brash in the sixth.
Seattle’s J.P. Crawford scored on an error in the first inning and had an RBI single in the fifth. Jarred Kelenic hit a two-out RBI triple in the eighth off reliever Brock Burke to pull the Mariners within 4-3. Jonathan Hernández entered and walked Eugenio Suárez, but struck out Cal Raleigh on a 3-2 pitch to end a nine-pitch at-bat.
Will Smith pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
The Mariners have scored three runs or fewer in seven of the last 13 games.
“We got to try to pick it up offensively and find a way,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You’re not going to win every night by shutting somebody out or giving up one run. The other team is going to score some nights and you got to step up and get it done. We didn’t offensively today.”
Trying to spark Seattle’s offense led Servais to drop struggling center fielder Julio Rodríguez from first to sixth in the batting order. Rodríguez entered the day with just two hits in his last 29 at-bats over the last week.
Rodríguez lined out to left field, singled, hit a fly ball to the warning track and struck out in his four trips to the plate.
“Baby steps. I thought he looked much more relaxed today,” Servais said.
Rangers: SS Corey Seager is headed to Double-A Frisco to begin a rehab assignment Thursday. He is likely to rejoin the Rangers when they get home from their current trip.
Rangers: Texas will open a four-game series in Oakland on Thursday with RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3-2, 3.22) on the mound. Eovaldi is coming off consecutive scoreless outings, throwing a complete-game shutout of the Yankees on April 29 and throwing eight scoreless against the Angels in his last start.
Mariners: After a travel day, Seattle opens a nine-game trip in Detroit on Friday. LHP Marco Gonzales (2-0, 4.70) will start the opener against the Tigers.
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