Mariners 8, Rangers 3
SEATTLE (AP)—Miguel Batista couldn’t find anyone to blame for his long layoff.
“You couldn’t even write a letter to God and tell him you’re mad at him,” Batista joked.
Thanks to Seattle’s wacky string of weather-related postponements, Batista made just his second start with the Mariners on Saturday. And the 10 days off sure appeared to help.
Batista rebounded from his poor debut, pitching into the seventh inning of Seattle’s 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers.
Batista gave up Sammy Sosa’s 590th career home run, but otherwise handled the Rangers’ potent lineup and became the first of Seattle’s three new starting pitchers to pick up a victory.
Seattle had four games in Cleveland snowed out and one rained out in Boston since Batista’s debut.
“I was pretty well rested, I can tell you that,” Batista said.
He also looked little like the pitcher that got battered in his debut with the Mariners on April 4, giving up eight runs and 10 hits to Oakland. Instead, Batista pitched 6 2-3 innings, struck out five and never let Texas put together a sustained rally.
Batista also got a jolt from Seattle’s offense. Adrian Beltre and Jose Guillen both hit two-run drives for their first homers of the season. Beltre’s homer in the fourth gave Seattle a 6-0 lead and Guillen’s made it 8-3 in the seventh.
“We’ve swung the bats well in six games. We don’t have a lot of hits to show for it, but we’ve hit the ball hard pretty consistently,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
Sosa hit his second homer with the Rangers in the sixth inning. After Mark Teixeira lined a ground-rule double down the right-field line—his first extra-base hit of the season—Sosa put an 0-1 pitch a few rows deep in right-center field.
After sitting out last season, Sosa signed a minor league contract with the Rangers—the team he made his major league debut with in 1989. He made the team by hitting .408 with five homers in 17 games this spring. He hit his first homer of the season April 7 against the Red Sox.
“There are still more pieces to find and the more that I play the more I will find out all the adjustments I have to make,” Sosa said.
Otherwise, there wasn’t much offense for Texas. Kenny Lofton led off the game with a single, then Batista held the Rangers hitless until Brad Wilkerson started the fifth with a homer. Batista walked only one.
“Last time he was really excited and this time he was more in control of that and gave us a good effort,” Hargrove said of Batista.
Vicente Padilla (0-3) pitched six innings for Texas and remained winless. He was hurt by the Rangers’ defense in the third inning.
Ichiro Suzuki was hit on the arm to load the bases. Beltre then chopped a grounder to third that Hank Blalock misplayed, allowing Lopez to score. Jose Vidro followed with a weak grounder to second, but Ian Kinsler’s right foot slipped as he planted to field the ball and it slipped past him into shallow right field. Burke and Suzuki scored on the play, and Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly to score Beltre.
“I think Kinsler will make that play. Hank will make that play. We just didn’t make them and it ended up being a four-run inning,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “It made Padilla work harder than he should have.”
Suzuki snapped an 0-for-13 streak with a two-out single in the fourth. Padilla got ahead of Beltre 0-2, but couldn’t sneak a high fastball past the Mariners’ third baseman, who lined the pitch into the Rangers’ bullpen.
“It’s always good to get the first one out of the way. I’ve been swinging the bat good lately and it’s good to see some results,” Beltre said.
Guillen’s homer in the seventh came off reliever C.J. Wilson and just cleared Sosa’s glove in right.
Beltre is 4-for-20 in his career against Padilla. All four hits are home runs. … Heavy rain started falling in the top of the fifth, but it took about 10 minutes for the stadium’s retractable roof to close. Fans scattered into the covered concourses until the roof was fully extended. … Texas committed at least two errors in a game for the third time this season. The other two times were April 2 and 3 against the Angels.