Rangers score twice in 8th inning for 3-1 win over Mariners

(TSX / STATS) -- SEATTLE -- Shin-Soo Choo broke open a tie game with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and Elvis Andrus added an RBI single for insurance as the Texas Rangers defeated the Seattle Mariners 3-1 at Safeco Field on Tuesday.

With the victory, Texas (74-76) pulled to within 3 1/2 games of the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild card. Seattle (74-77) remained four games out of the postseason chase after its fourth consecutive loss.

The Rangers opened up against reliever Nick Vincent in the decisive eighth as Carlos Gomez led off with a double to right. Delino DeShields then beat out a bunt, with pinch-runner Will Middlebrooks going to third.

Choo, a former Mariner, followed that with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Middlebrooks for the go-ahead run. Andrus added to that by singling home DeShields.

Tony Barnette (2-1) earned the win in relief for the Rangers with two-thirds of a scoreless inning, while Alex Claudio earned his ninth save. Vincent (3-3) suffered the loss for the Mariners.

Seattle might have run itself out of a potential rally in the seventh with runners on first and third with one out. After Guillermo Heredia missed a bunt on a safety squeeze, Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos fired to third to pick off Yonder Alonso.

As an added annoyance, Heredia eventually singled -- a hit that would have brought home Alonso with the go-ahead run.

In the early innings, the contest shaped up as a duel between Texas lefty Martin Perez and Seattle right-hander Mike Leake, who each pitched well enough to keep the other team off balance.

Perez pitched 6 1/3 innings in his longest start of September, allowing four hits and one earned run. He struck out four and walked one.

Leake pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and one earned run with five strikeouts. It was the first time in four starts with Seattle that he didn't earn the win.

The Rangers got on the scoreboard in the second inning as Adrian Beltre led off with a single to center and Nomar Mazara doubled him to third.

Joey Gallo followed with a grounder to short, scoring Beltre.

The Mariners finally got to Perez in the fifth. Guillermo Heredia singled to center with two outs and Ben Gamel brought him home with a double deep into the right-center gap to tie the game 1-1.

NOTES: Mariners manager Scott Servais indicated that RHP Felix Hernandez would likely be held to a 70-80 pitch count on Wednesday in his second start since returning from bursitis in his pitching shoulder. ... RHP Hisashi Iwakuma told the Seattle Times he has structural damage in his right shoulder, and Servais said it was doubtful he can return this season. ... CF Carlos Gomez made his first appearance after suffering a sprained ankle on Sept. 9, appearing as a pinch hitter in the eighth with a double into the right-field corner. ... Texas DH Adrian Beltre, still recovering from a strained hamstring, went 2 for 4 with a run scored, his second straight multi-hit game. He returned to the lineup on Sept. 13 after missing 11 games.


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