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Balk call in 10th inning leads to Rangers' 4-3 win over Mariners

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The Texas Rangers went extra innings to maintain their slim, two-game lead atop the AL West on Tuesday night, when it took 10 innings and a controversial balk call to beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3.

A one-out balk on Mariners closer Danny Farquhar in the top of the 10th inning brought home the winning run from third base as Seattle (59-72) extended its losing streak to five games. Ian Kinsler stole third base, then came home when Farquhar was called for the balk.

Home plate umpire CB Bucknor called the balk even though it appeared Farquhar was shaking off a pitch sign from catcher Humberto Quintero. Farquhar (0-2) vehemently argued the call before getting the final two outs, then after the game he owned up to the balk and said it was the right call.

"I had to go back and look at the video because I had no idea at the time," Farquhar said. "It was the slightest flinch, but I did it."

Bucknor, who spoke to a pool reporter, said that Farquhar moved his left shoulder while looking in for a sign from the catcher.

"Any movement associated with his set position -- he doesn't come and stop -- is a balk," Bucknor said.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge agreed with the call, calling it "tough luck."

He added that the key to the pivotal 10th inning came when Kinsler was able to steal third base, a rare feat, especially in extra innings.

"We've got to pay better attention to him," Wedge said of Kinsler, who got a good jump off second base. "You can't let that guy get to third base like that."

Kinsler said the stolen base came as a result of a high leg kick he noticed in Farquhar's delivery.

"It really wasn't that risky," Kinsler said of deciding to steal in the 10th inning of a tie game with runners on first and second base. "Unless I trip on my shoelace, I was going to get (to third). It's a pretty calculated move."

Texas closer Joe Nathan gave up a single and a walk in the bottom of the 10th but went on to earn his 38th save of the season.

Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers pitched Texas out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth inning, when he came on with no outs and runners on first and second and retired three consecutive batters to send the game into extra innings. Scheppers (6-2) earned his first win in more than two months after going 5-0 through his first 34 appearances.

The Mariners came up short after a promising start in the ninth inning. Back-to-back singles by Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley with no outs chased reliever Neal Cotts from the game. Scheppers came on and induced a bunt pop-out to Humberto Quintero before striking out the next two batters to send the game into extra innings.

Saunders got another chance to be the hero in the bottom of the 10th, when he came up with two outs and runners on first and second, but he grounded into the game-ending out.

Both starting pitchers had some early struggles but settled down to get through six innings without factoring into the decision.

Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma allowed three earned runs off seven hits while striking out seven. He retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced after Texas tagged him for three runs in the second inning.

Texas starter Derek Holland also allowed three earned runs, matching his highest total in five August starts. He gave up six hits while walking four and striking out five.

Kinsler went 4-for-5 and is hitting .367 over his past 13 games.

Ackley had three hits for Seattle, including the ninth-inning single after his bunt attempt popped up in the air and over a charging Cotts to land safely near the mound.

Seattle is now 0-5 since manager Eric Wedge returned from a 27-game hiatus to recover from a July 22 stroke.

The Mariners jumped on Holland, scoring twice despite just one hit in the first inning. Two walks and a one-out, RBI double by Kendrys Morales pushed the first run across before Justin Smoak's sacrifice fly put Seattle ahead 2-0.

RBI singles from Mitch Moreland, David Murphy and Elvis Andrus in the second inning put the Rangers ahead, 3-2, before Seattle's Franklin Gutierrez tied the score with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the third.

NOTES: Texas sent RHP Nick Tepesch (elbow) to Double-A Frisco for a rehab assignment. Tepesch was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 7. ... The Rangers have won 12 of their past 15 road games. ... Texas CF Leonys Martin was back in the lineup after missing two games with a sore ankle. ... Mariners SS Brendan Ryan made the defensive play of the early innings with a diving stop and twisting throw to gun down the Rangers' A.J. Pierzynski on a sharp grounder up the middle. Ryan's third-inning play saw him go into shallow center field, a few feet past second base, to get the ball before spinning to throw Pierzynski out by a step. ... The Safeco Field roof was closed for the second consecutive night after staying open for most of July and August. Temperatures were still in the mid-70s, but the threat of rain ended up factoring into the decision to close the roof.

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