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Morales' two homers help Mariners top Rangers

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kendrys Morales belted two home runs and accounted for six runs batted in as his Seattle Mariners topped the Texas Rangers, 9-2, on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark.

Morales, notching his 10th-career multi-homer game, homered in the first and fifth innings and added a RBI single in the sixth for his eighth three-hit game of the season.

"He goes up there with a game plan, and when he gets something he is looking for, he doesn't miss it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I felt like our overall approach was better, and they made some mistakes, and we capitalized when they did."

Seattle (35-47) had entered having lost four of its last five games, but tied its season-high in home runs with three and produced nine runs for the fourth time this year.

The Mariners received hits from each of its nine starters with a pair coming from Nick Franklin and Kyle Seager. The win also meant just the sixth time in 23 games that Seattle won against Texas on the road.

Texas (48-35), on the other hand, was held homerless for a season-high fourth consecutive game. The Rangers left nine on base overall, despite having 11 hits in the contest.

"We hit some balls hard off of them," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Those two guys up the middle made some good plays on some balls that we smoked."

The Rangers struggled out of the gate to get to Mariners starter Joe Saunders, leaving seven on base through the first four innings.

Saunders (6-8) worked around a bases loaded jam in the fourth and forced inning-ending double plays in the fifth and sixth innings to limit any damage.

The left-hander entered with consecutive losses to the Rangers in each of his two previous starts this season. Saunders gave up six runs in each, but departed with just one earned run allowed on the night.

"It's nice as a starting pitcher when you get a cushion," Saunders said. "It helps us relax and takes a bit of the pressure off. It was a good night and we played some good baseball."

Saunders finished with 6 2/3 innings pitched, five strikeouts and 10 hits allowed to earn his first-career win in Arlington after being 0-7 entering the day.

"This place has torn me up a few times," Saunders said. "Everyone knows they can hit the ball pretty well. Tonight the game plan was to get the ball down and in the zone. The defense made some great plays behind me and we got some clutch hits. It was all around a good night."

Texas starter Justin Grimm lasted just four complete innings in his third start against the Mariners this season. Grimm had not allowed a long ball to the Mariners in his previous two starts, but ran into trouble from the get-go.

With two out in the first, Raul Ibanez and Morales combined for back-to-back homers in the opener. Ibanez, knocking his 20th of the season, belted a solo shot to right and Morales followed with a blast in the same direction for his 10th.

"He had some change ups that were left over the middle to those guys and they punched them out," Washington said. "Ibanez and Morales drove in seven of the nine runs. He just couldn't get that third out. He'd get two but just couldn't get the third."

Grimm (7-6) allowed just one run the next three innings, but ran into trouble again in the fifth.

Morales came to the plate with runners on the corners thanks to an error by second basemen Ian Kinsler. Morales knocked his second home run of the game, bouncing Grimm after four complete innings.

Grimm finished with five runs allowed, two walks and a strikeout.

Ross Wolf relieved Grimm and had similar luck against the Mariners. Wolf allowed two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh before giving way to Josh Lindblom.

Leonys Martin opened up the Rangers half of the third with a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to a team-high 15 games. Martin scored two batters later on the Rangers third consecutive single, this time coming from Elvis Andrus.

The Rangers picked up a second run in the seventh when a passed ball allowed Andrus to score from third.

NOTES: Texas announced that it had recalled RHP Josh Lindblom from Triple-A Round Rock before the game. To make room for Lindblom, the Rangers designated RHP Kyle McClellan for assignment ... Leonys Martin stole a base for the fifth consecutive game and has reached safely in his last 14 attempts ... Michael Saunders was held out of the Mariners lineup for a third consecutive game due to an injury to his right hand.
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