Seattle, WA – A.J. Pierzynski hit a solo home run to help the Texas Rangers take a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a four-game series.
Elvis Andrus, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz each drove in a run for the Rangers, who have won seven of their last nine.
Justin Grimm lasted just four innings in the start as he gave up two runs on five hits with three walks. Joe Ortiz (1-0) got the first win of his career for tossing two perfect innings in relief.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a solo home run while Justin Smoak had two hits and two runs scored for the Mariners, who have dropped seven of their past nine games.
Felix Hernandez (1-2) gave up four runs -- three earned -- on 10 hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts, the second of which was the 1,500th of his career.
Gutierrez led off the home first with a home run as he clubbed a full count fastball deep over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead.
Texas answered in the second as Pierzynski hit a one-out, solo homer. Mitch Moreland then lofted a fly ball to left field that Raul Ibanez lost, allowing Moreland to reach first base. A single by Leonys Martin followed and Andrus later singled in Moreland for a 2-1 lead.
The Mariners tied the game in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded, Gutierrez hit a grounder to short that saw the force out at second. There was no play at first, and Smoak scored for a 2-2 game.
Ian Kinsler led off the Texas fifth with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Andrus walked, Lance Berkman hit a grounder that saw Andrus forced out at second. Adrian Beltre then struck out, but Murphy followed with a single to plate one and Cruz doubled in another for a 4-2 lead.
Ortiz relieved Grimm to start the fifth inning and set the Mariners down in order in the fifth and sixth.
The Mariners loaded the bases with two outs off of Tanner Scheppers in the seventh, but Robbie Ross took over and struck out Ibanez to end the frame.
"Of course it's frustrating," said Ibanez. "I'd like to come up with a line drive, come up with a hit. I chased a couple pitches up out of the zone, then he made a pitch on the slider down and I didn't get it done."
Seattle got a run back in the eighth, but a nice defensive play kept the team from tying the game. Smoak dropped a single into right field and Jesus Montero followed with a ground-rule double to right that was touched by a fan along the foul line. Robert Andino then grounded out to first to score a run.
Brendan Ryan laid down a bunt for the suicide squeeze, but it didn't work as Ross fielded the ball and shoveled it home where Pierzynski applied the tag as he blocked the plate. Gutierrez then struck out to end the frame.
"Luckily for us, Ryan just bunted it hard enough to where Robbie could get it to me in time," said Pierzynski. "I was just begging for him to get it to me as fast as he could because it's an awkward play for the catcher, when a guy's coming like that you just want to get the ball in your hands as fast as possible."
Joe Nathan set the Mariners down in order in the ninth inning, with Jason Bay flying out just in front of the center field wall to end the game and give Nathan his third save.
Seattle right fielder Michael Morse left the game in the seventh inning after getting hit by a pitch. On the previous pitch he fouled a ball off his hands Seattle manager Eric Wedge said that it was a small fracture on his right pinkie finger and he will be out 3-to-7 days ... Texas just edged out Seattle in the series last year, 10-9 ... Yu Darvish pitches for Texas on Friday while Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound for Seattle ... Seattle went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base ... Before the game, seattle placed outfielder Micahel Saunders on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder and purchased the contract of outfielder Endy Chavez from Triple-A Tacoma. Also, pitcher D.J. Mitchell was designated for assignment and the team acquired pitcher Aaron harang from Colorado for a minor league pitcher.