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Mariners end losing streak with 13-inning win

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Texas Rangers 20-year-old phenom Jurickson Profar started Sunday's game against Seattle by demonstrating that the team with the best record in the American League has another weapon.

More than four hours -- and 11 pitching changes -- later, the Mariners' Jason Bay ended it in dramatic fashion.

Bay, who had a potential game-winning home run stolen by Texas left fielder David Murphy in the 11th, hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning, giving the Mariners a 4-3 victory and ending Seattle's eight-game losing streak in the process.

"Just to get a chance to do it again and come through -- especially with the way we're playing -- it feels great," Bay said after driving Kendrys Morales in from third base with a two-out single in the bottom of the 13th. "Not only for me but for everybody."

Bay had two hits after replacing center fielder Michael Saunders in the ninth inning, but it was his long out that provided almost as much drama as the game-winning hit.

After teammate Raul Ibanez had tied the score 3-3 with a leadoff home run off Rangers closer Joe Nathan in the bottom of the 11th, Bay hit a deep shot of his own toward the left-field wall. Murphy ran down the ball and made a leaping catch over the wall for the final out of that inning.

Bay was just relieved to get another chance.

"It's a funny game," he said.

Morales had a one-out double in the 13th, moved to third on a Carlos Triunfel sacrifice bunt, then scored on Bay's bloop single to left.

Bay's game-winning hit ended a marathon game that started with an historic homer by Profar.

Profar, who singled off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in his first two at-bats of Saturday night's win, moved into the leadoff spot Sunday and homered off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma to start the game. Profar became the youngest player in 55 years to lead off a game with a home run, and Texas eventually took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning.

Seattle's Morales, in the sixth, and Ibanez, in the 11th, hit score-tying home runs.

"The veterans really came through for us," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said, referring mainly to Morales, Ibanez and Bay.

The Rangers used eight pitchers, three of whom pitched less than 24 hours earlier in a 5-2 win over the Mariners. Right-hander Ross Wolf (1-1) ended up taking the loss, while Nathan failed to hold a 3-2 lead in the 11th for his first blown save in 17 opportunities this season.

"You can't control the way a baseball game goes, so we'll figure it out (Monday)," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his team used all but one available relief pitcher one day before a doubleheader at Arizona. "Hopefully, (Monday starters Martin) Perez and (Yu) Darvish can give us nine innings in each game and everything works out good."

Seattle's Yoervis Medina, one of five pitchers used by the Mariners, earned his second win of the season despite giving up a hit and two walks in 1 2/3 innings of work. He struck out Profar looking and got Murphy to ground into the final out of the 13th, stranding runners on first and third.

Over the past nine games, Seattle has made 30 pitching changes. In seven of those games, the Mariners have used four pitchers or more.

Closer Tom Wilhelmsen pitched two innings of relief for the Mariners on Sunday, when he came on in a non-save situation in the top of the ninth and protected a 2-2 score. He needed only 17 pitches to do it, the first six of which came during a 1-2-3 ninth.

"It was a little out of the ordinary," Wedge said of using Wilhelmsen for multiple innings for only the second time this season, "but in that situation, we felt we had to do it."

Wilhelmsen replaced Iwakuma to start the ninth after the Seattle starter allowed just five hits and two runs over eight innings. It marked the ninth time in 11 starts this season that Iwakuma has allowed two earned runs or fewer, but Profar's home run was the team-high 10th homer that Iwakuma has allowed this season.

Profar, who was called up to fill in for injured second baseman Ian Kinsler, has now hit in four consecutive games while batting .278 in a week of action.

Sunday marked his first start in the leadoff role, as the Rangers were intending to give Elvis Andrus a day off. Profar opened the game with a home run to right field, becoming the youngest player since 18-year-old Kansas City Athletics infielder Lou Klimchock in 1958 to lead off a game with a homer.

The Rangers added a run on Leonys Martin's sacrifice fly in the second for a 2-0 lead, which held up until Seattle's Morales hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.

Texas starter Nick Tepesch retired the first nine batters he faced and seemed to be cruising until Morales took him deep in the sixth. Tepesch struck out the next batter, then gave way to the Texas bullpen. The 24-year-old right-hander pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and two runs while not factoring into the decision.

The 2-2 tie held through the 10th inning. The Rangers (32-18) finally broke through when pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski singled in a run with one out in the top of the 11th, giving Texas a 3-2 lead with Nathan warming up in the bullpen.

But Nathan blew the save on his first pitch, which Ibanez sent it 358 feet into the right-field seats to tie the score 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th.

"Ibanez is a good hitter, and he went up there looking for a first-pitch fastball," Washington said. "(Ibanez) got it where he wanted it, and he didn't miss it."

Three batters later, Bay looked like he had a game-winning homer, only to have it taken away when Murphy reached over the wall to make an inning-ending catch.

Bay had another chance to win it in the 13th, when he hit Wolf's first pitch over the shortstop for a game-winning single.

Seattle (21-29) is now 2-4 in extra-inning games this season. More important, the Mariners ended their slide.

"We've got a lot going on out there right now," Wedge said. "A great win for us. A great win."

Notes: The Rangers will start rookie Perez for the first game of Monday's doubleheader at Arizona. Perez is scheduled to make his first appearance of the season. Darvish will start Game 2. ... The Diamondbacks' probable starters for Monday's doubleheader are set, with RHP Ian Kennedy getting scratched Sunday because of a laceration on his finger. Top prospect Tyler Skaggs is expected to be called up from Triple-A to replace Kennedy as Monday's Game 1 starter, with RHP Trevor Cahill slated to start the second game. ... Mariners 1B Justin Smoak sat out Sunday's game after suffering a strained oblique muscle the previous night. Wedge said Sunday morning that Smoak is "day-to-day," adding that the injury is not as serious as first thought. ... Rangers DH Lance Berkman might see his first action in the field Monday, when Texas plays a doubleheader in Arizona. Berkman, who saw time at first base last season, has yet to play in the field in 2013.
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