Following a come-from-behind, extra-inning victory over the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners try to win the series Wednesday when they hand the ball to rookie Cha Seung Baek, who’s making a push for a spot in the rotation next season.
Seattle (72-79), which had lost six of its previous nine, beat Texas 9-7 in 10 innings Tuesday. The Mariners rallied from a two-run deficit in the ninth against Rangers closer Akinori Otsuka, who allowed two-out RBI singles to Willie Bloomquist and Ichiro Suzuki to send the game to extra innings.
Pinch-hitter Adam Jones hit a go-ahead two-run single in the 10th for the Mariners, who lost the series opener 8-1 on Monday.
“For a guy who hasn’t had an at-bat in a while, to come up there against a guy like (Joaquin) Benoit, who’s got really good stuff, it was a huge hit for (Jones) and a huge hit for us,” said Bloomquist, who had a career-high five hits.
Gary Matthews Jr. extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the first inning for the Rangers (77-75). Hank Blalock added a two-run shot in the third and drove in three runs.
With the bullpen having pitched 7 2-3 innings Tuesday after starter Jarrod Washburn left early with a strained right calf, Seattle is looking for a lengthy outing from Baek (3-1, 3.90 ERA) on Wednesday. The right-hander will be making his sixth start for the Mariners this season since taking over the rotation spot of Jamie Moyer, who was traded to Philadelphia.
Baek, though, is coming off his worst start of the year, allowing six runs and seven hits in a season-low 3 1-3 innings of a 10-0 loss to Toronto last Wednesday.
“He just lost his command,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “When he came out of the game, he told (pitching coach Rafael) Chavez that he had a little tightness in his shoulder. His command has been what has helped him since he got here.”
Baek is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA against the Rangers, pitching 15 innings in two career starts. He threw seven innings and gave up four hits in a 7-2 victory over Texas on Sept. 8, his first start against the Rangers since 2004.
“He was tough,” Rangers catcher Gerald Laird said. “He was in pretty good command of all his pitches. … He threw strikes and kept us off balance.”
Texas will hand the ball to Robinson Tejeda (4-3, 4.58), who’s just 1-0 over his last three starts despite allowing one earned run in 20 1-3 innings during that stretch. The right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings against Los Angeles on Friday, giving up five hits and striking out four in a 2-1, 11-inning loss.
“I had a great game but I’m disappointed we didn’t win,” Tejeda said. “I need to keep doing what I’m doing and keep getting better for next year.”
Tejeda allowed two runs and had a season-high seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of Texas’ 3-2, 13-inning defeat at Seattle in his previous start Sept. 9. It was his first appearance against the Mariners.