Rangers 3, Mariners 2, 11 innings
SEATTLE (AP)—Esteban German had not faced a pitch in a game since being called up to the Rangers two weeks ago.
It took him just two pitches in his first at-bat to deliver Texas a victory.
German hit a go-ahead RBI double against the left-field wall in the 11th inning as the Rangers rallied to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 Tuesday night.
Mark Teixeira had reached on a one-out hard single off the glove of second baseman Jose Lopez. German, who entered as a pinch runner in the ninth, followed with a shot over the head of left fielder Raul Ibanez on a 1-0 pitch from Julio Mateo (3-5). Teixeira easily beat the relay to the plate.
“I was so excited about that,” said German, who said he might have had close to 1,000 batting practice swings this month to keep him ready when called. “He threw me a fastball. I was waiting for that pitch. I hit it good.”
It was worth the wait. German got a fair amount of clubhouse abuse from his teammates when the media swarmed around the little-used infielder. He had appeared in just three previous games, all as a pinch runner. It was his first big league hit since Sept. 14, 2004, for Oakland—against Texas.
Seattle rookie Felix Hernandez was one out from his first major league complete game when he allowed the Rangers to tie it at 2. Kevin Mench, who had been in a 3-of-26 slide, hit a two-out single to left to score German, who was running for Hank Blalock, from second.
“You give up four hits in eight innings and have 95 pitches and the lead, if I had the ball in my hand and throwing the ball the way he was, I’d rather finish it off,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said of his reasons for letting Hernandez try to finish.
“I made the decision. I think it was the right decision for a lot of reasons.”
Hernandez allowed five hits, two runs, struck out seven and walked four in his nine innings. After the first, he did not allow a runner past first base until the ninth.
In his previous outing against Texas on Sept. 16, the Rangers handed Hernandez the worst defeat of his young career. He was knocked out after three innings, allowing eight hits and five runs in a 5-3 loss.
“It was really important to me,” Hernandez said. “It would have been my first major league complete game. It didn’t happen and I’m upset that the team lost.”
Texas shortstop Michael Young went 2-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 23 games, third-longest in Rangers history. He has raised his average from .323 to a league-leading .334 by hitting .398 (37-of-93) during the streak.
Young’s two hits gave him a league-leading 217, breaking his own club record of 216 set last season.
“I don’t think anybody takes for granted how hard it is to do what he’s doing,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s consistent in all walks of life. He loves to win, he loves to compete, he loves to prepare.”
Young said that his goal was not to beat his own records “but to stay healthy and be consistent. This year I’ve been able to do that.”
Texas starter Kameron Loe, hit in the head by a line drive by Vladimir Guerrero in his last outing, went 6 2-3 innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He had two strikeouts and issued a season-high five walks—two of which were intentional to Suzuki.
Teixeira gave Texas 1-0 lead in the first with a run-scoring groundout, his 139th RBI that extended his record for most RBIs by a switch-hitter in major league history.
The Mariners tied it in the fourth when Reed hit a ground-rule double and scored on left fielder Jason Botts’ error on Ibanez’s single.
Lopez, who had a career-high four hits, opened the Mariners’ fifth with a single and eventually scored on Reed’s RBI groundout.
The Rangers, at 78-79, are trying to avoid their fifth losing season in the past six years. … Young’s 23-game hit streak is the longest for the Rangers since Gabe Kapler had a 28-game streak in 2000. … Suzuki, who is four hits from a fifth straight 200-hit season, was given three intentional walks and has 23 this season. … Showalter was ejected in the eighth inning by first base umpire Tim Timmons for protesting a call.