Seattle, WA – A.J. Pierzynski broke the game open with a three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers defeated the Seattle Mariners, 8-3, in Monday's opener of a three-game set at Safeco Field.
Alex Rios had two hits with two RBI, Mitch Moreland knocked a solo homer and Elvis Andrus ended 3-for-5 with a run-scoring single for the Rangers, who bounced back from their first two-game losing streak in over month.
Travis Blackley (2-1) went six full innings, yielding three runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Neal Cotts, Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers each tossed a hitless inning of relief.
"Blackley did a great job. He has an idea what he's doing when he gets out there. He got us deep into the game," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Joe Saunders (10-13) was tagged for seven runs on nine hits and three walks over seven frames for Seattle, which had won five of its last seven meetings with Texas.
Kyle Seager hit his 20th home run of the season and Brad Miller knocked in a pair in Seattle's fourth straight defeat.
"Collectively we've got to get it together," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "We have to get over the hump here and get back on track."
The Mariners came within 4-3 in the fourth on Seager's one-out solo blast into right. Saunders kept the deficit to one while retiring nine straight, but that streak ended while struggling to get the last out of the seventh.
Ian Kinsler doubled and Saunders intentionally walked Adrian Beltre to get to Pierzynski, who cleared the bags with a shot over the right field wall. Moreland added a solo shot off Yoervis Medina in the eighth.
Saunders faced a bases loaded jam in the first. He got the force play at home when Pierzynski grounded one back to the mound for the second out, but Rios came through with a two-run single to center to get Texas on the board.
Seattle then loaded the bases in the home third and Miller provided the equalizer with a two-run scoring base hit into left. However, the Rangers got the two runs back in the next half frame.
Rios doubled, Jeff Baker singled and Jurickson Profar pushed a run in with a force out at second. Two batters later, Andrus made it 4-2 with a single to right.
The Rangers extended their longest single-season streak of allowing five runs or fewer to 24 consecutive games ... With the victory, Texas maintained its 2 1/2-game lead in the AL West over the Oakland A's, who held off the Detroit Tigers earlier on Monday ... Prior to the game, the Mariners designated pitcher Aaron Harang for assignment. Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez was activated from the 15-day disabled list and made the start in right, ending 0- for-4 at the plate.