SEATTLE (AP)—The Seattle Mariners had the best record in baseball earlier this season. Now, they’re having a serious meltdown.
Alex Rodriguez drew a one-out walk off reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2-2) and later scored the go-ahead run. Rodriguez reached third on a one-out single by Rafael Palmeiro, whose three-run homer tied it at 4 in the eighth.
“He’s not just picking on the Mariners,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s been doing it to a lot of people for a long time. He had a pretty special night for us.”
The Mariners led 4-1 after seven innings before Palmeiro spoiled everything. Seattle fell 2 1/2 games behind Oakland in the AL West and 2 1/2 games behind Boston for the AL wild card.
Since the All-Star break, Seattle is 24-27.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “We really came out with a lot of energy, scored some runs and things were happening well. We just got bit in that one inning. That’s as tough an inning as we’ve had all year.”
The Mariners players held a closed-door meeting that lasted more than 45 minutes after the game.
“Anytime you lose where you have a lead, you’re deep into the game and you’re into the part of the bullpen where you think you’re going to hold the lead, it hurts,” Melvin said. “That’s as tough a loss as we’ve had this year.”
Rangers reliever Ron Mahay (3-0) took over in the eighth. He threw two innings, allowing two hits with one intentional walk.
Francisco Cordero pitched the 10th for his 13th save.
Seattle starter Ryan Franklin threw 7 1-3 innings, allowing one run on seven hits with one strikeout and no walks. It was his second straight start without a home run or walk, and his ERA over the past three starts dropped to 1.57 ERA.
Franklin, though, has been Seattle’s tough-luck pitcher all season. He lost 1-0 in his most recent outing Thursday in Tampa Bay, despite giving up only six hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
All of Franklin’s good work went for nothing when Palmeiro drove a 2-0 pitch from Armando Benitez into the right field stands in the eighth. It was the first time Palmerio faced Benitez.
“We were just trying to get the matchup, get through the inning and get to Shiggy,” Melvin said.
The Texas slugger has been great at Safeco Field, hitting 15 homers. He’s also tough on the Mariners, regardless of where he faces them.
It was career home run No. 523 for Palmeiro, who has six this season against Seattle with 19 RBIs. Palmeiro has victimized the Mariners for 46 of his career home runs, tied with Anaheim for his most against an opponent.
“I just came from Minnesota, where I was an automatic out,” Palmeiro said. “It’s part of the game that is hard to explain. There’s ballparks where you see the ball better than others, and I’ve got a couple where I can’t buy a hit.”
Seattle manager Bob Melvin pulled Franklin after Michael Young flied to left leading off the eighth. Arthur Rhodes gave up a single to Hank Blalock and was replaced by Benitez, who walked Rodriguez and gave up Palmeiro’s homer.
Seattle led 4-0 in the fourth after Martinez hit a two-run homer. In the third, Guillen put Seattle ahead 2-0 with a two-out, two-RBI single to right.
Seattle 2B Bret Boone made a great stop in the seventh to deny a potential hit by Texas RF Jason Jones. He darted to his left and stabbed the ball, then threw to first. … Lineups and batters were introduced in both English and Spanish on Salute to Latin American Baseball night. … Palmeirohas 101 RBIs, his ninth straight season with at least 100.