SEATTLE (AP) – The Texas Rangers haven’t found themselves in many close games lately with only two this month being decided by less than four runs.
Texas manager Ron Washington expects that to change as the season winds down and the Rangers try to keep a hold on the AL West and earn a spot in the postseason.
The Rangers got their first taste of a tight victory on Saturday night with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Seattle Mariners.
“Every game as we move forward is going to be an adrenaline type situation so it was nice,” Washington said.
Texas had lost the two other close games by one run to both Tampa Bay and Oakland.
Josh Hamilton had four hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs to help Rangers outslug Mariners and extend their division lead to 4 1/2 games over Los Angeles in the AL West. The Angels lost 6-2 to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rangers offense picked up a struggling Colby Lewis (13-10) and hit three solo home runs off Mariners’ starter Anthony Vasquez in the third inning. Lewis allowed six runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings while striking out seven. It was the fifth time this year Lewis had given up six or more runs in a game. He’d taken the loss in each of those outings.
“I felt really good but overall I think I just had a couple brain farts really more than anything,” Lewis said. “I’m glad we won. I’m glad everything worked out the way it did. The Angels lost and we inch closer.”
Elvis Andrus homered into the Mariners bullpen in left field, Hamilton hit a line drive just over the wall down the right field line and Adrian Beltre crushed a first pitch from Vasquez (1-4) off the facade of the upper deck in left field to knot the game at 4-4.
“That was awesome,” catcher Mike Napoli said. “It put us right back in the game. We fell down and the next inning we came up and put three runs up which was huge. Colby held it down for us and gave us a chance to come back and do what we did. It was a good team win tonight.”
A leadoff walk to Gentry chased Vasquez from the game in the top of the fourth inning. After a walk by Ian Kinsler, Andrus singled to load the bases and Hamilton drove in two with a single to right field. Young brought home Andrus with a sacrifice fly as Texas took a 7-4 lead.
“It was nice to get back on track,” manager Ron Washington said. “Last night (Blake) Beavan shut our bats down a little bit so it’s nice once they jumped out front to show what we’re all about and come back and swing the bats and we did that.”
Mike Carp hit a two-run home run off Lewis into the right field seats in the fifth inning to pull Seattle within one.
Neftali Feliz pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 27th save in 33 chances.
Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4 to pass Mickey Mantle and pull even with Pie Traynor for 110th on the all-time hits list with 2,416.
Napoli had three hits on the night including a leadoff double down the left field line in the second inning. Chris Gentry followed with a two-out single to left to score Napoli and give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners jumped on Lewis in the bottom half of the inning. Adam Kennedy and Brendan Ryan each singled and a walk to Trayvon Robinson loaded the bases. Suzuki came through with a bouncing single through the middle of the infield that scored Kennedy and Ryan to give Seattle the lead.
Kyle Seager followed with a double past a diving Michael Young to score two as Suzuki slid in ahead of the throw to the plate to give the Mariners a 4-1 cushion.
“I think there were a lot of guys that swung at the first pitch,” Lewis said. “Maybe they were just trying to get ahead knowing that I was going to get ahead. I don’t know. I felt really good but overall I think I just had a couple brain farts really more than anything.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)