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Smoak's double, diving stab send Mariners past Rangers

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Justin Smoak gave the Seattle Mariners their first lead of the night with a two-run double in the eighth inning on Friday, then he made a game-saving defensive play to spoil Adrian Beltre's return from the disabled list.

Smoak's eighth-inning double drove in the tying and go-ahead runs before the Mariners held on to end the Texas Rangers' four-game winning streak with a 6-5 victory.

In a game that saw pitchers from both sides lose their control, Beltre had the Rangers' only RBI and nearly added two more with a screaming line drive toward first base with one out in the top of the ninth.

Smoak made a diving stab on the lineout, then stepped on first base for the inning-ending double play as the Mariners (9-13) won a second consecutive game for the first time since their season-opening series.

"This is something that can be uplifting," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, whose team had lost eight in a row before beating Houston with a walk-off home run on Thursday night. "Hopefully, we'll feed off this and come back (Saturday) ready to play."

After a Beltre RBI double in the fourth inning and two Texas runs scored on wild pitches, the Rangers led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth.

Texas reliever Neal Cotts (1-2) gave up a leadoff single to second baseman Robinson Cano, hit designated hitter Corey Hart and watched right fielder Stefen Romero turn a bunt into an infield single to load the bases. Smoak then drove a 1-1 fastball into the left-field corner for a double that scored the tying and go-ahead runs, giving Seattle a 4-3 lead.

Third baseman Kyle Seager, the hero from Thursday night's win, added an RBI single before a wild pitch from Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando brought across another run for a 6-3 Mariners lead.

Cotts gave up four hits and four runs without retiring a batter.

"For me, I thought he was the right guy in the right situation there," Rangers manager Ron Washington said, "and things just didn't go his way."

Cotts summed up his performance by saying: "I didn't pitch very well -- at all."

Seattle closer Fernando Rodney was almost as bad. He walked in two runs with the bases loaded in the ninth to pull the Rangers within 6-5 with one out before Smoak saved the day with the game-ending catch.

With Rodney struggling mightily and the bases loaded, the Seattle first baseman stabbed a one-out Beltre liner down the line and turned it into a game-ending double play.

"It's a little surreal," Beltre said. "When I hit it, I thought (Smoak) had no chance. He reacted really fast and made a hell of a play."

Smoak, who earlier in the inning dropped a relay throw that would have completed a double play for the second out, said he "blacked out" after catching the Beltre liner, but he had enough wherewithal to touch first base and catch baserunner Elvis Andrus leaning for the final out.

"When I dove," he said, "I just tried to put a glove on it."

Texas (14-9) lost for only the second time in nine games despite an RBI double in Beltre's first game back from the disabled list.

Cano had two hits and two RBIs for the Mariners, who tied a club record with four hit batters during the game.

Texas starter Robbie Ross hit three Seattle hitters, the last of which -- center fielder Abraham Almonte -- came around to score the Mariners' first run in the fifth.

Seattle also scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.

The Rangers' runs came on two wild pitches, two bases-loaded walks and a Beltre RBI.

"It was really cold, so the pitchers had problems gripping the ball," Beltre said. "But as long as we score runs, we don't care how we do it."

Seattle reliever Yoervis Medina (1-1) picked up the win. Rodney survived a shaky ninth to post his fourth save of the season.

Both pitching staffs struggled with wildness. Two Texas runs scored on wild pitches and two others on bases-loaded walks.

"This was one of those wacky games," McClendon said. "Tonight, I saw a lot of things I haven't seen in awhile."

Texas took leads of 1-0 in the third and 3-2 in the sixth on wild pitches.

Ross pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs and six hits, but he hit three Seattle batters. Reliever Jason Frasor took over to open the seventh with Texas leading 3-2.

Seattle starter Roenis Elias allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up a single to first baseman Prince Fielder and a double to right fielder Alex Rios before leaving the game with the score tied 2-2 in the fifth. Elias was then charged with his third run when Fielder scored on a wild pitch.

Beltre helped push the Rangers out to a 2-0 lead with a fourth-inning RBI double.

Beltre's looping drive to the warning track in center scored shortstop Elvis Andrus from first base with no outs. Elias eventually pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in that inning with back-to-back strikeouts.

Texas scored the first run of the game on an Elias wild pitch in the third.

The Mariners tied the score 2-2 in the fifth on Cano's two-out, two-run double. That ended a streak of 12 1/3 scoreless innings by Ross against the Mariners this season.

Ross hit three batters in the first five innings, and it eventually caught up with him when Cano's double scored Almonte and shortstop Willie Bloomquist.

NOTES: Before Friday's game, the Rangers activated 3B Adrian Beltre from the 15-day disabled list. Beltre had missed 14 games with a strained left quad. He hit third in the Rangers' order. ... To make room on the roster for Beltre, the Rangers placed 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disc in his lower back. ... The Mariners recalled LHP Lucas Luetge from Triple-A Tacoma. ... Seattle's lineup had a new look on Friday, with SS Willie Bloomquist replacing Brad Miller in both the field and the No. 2 spot in the order and LF Cole Gillespie making his Seattle debut in the No. 8 spot. Gillespie was called up from Triple-A Tacoma one day earlier and OF Nick Franklin was sent down. The Mariners were using a lineup heavy with right-handed bats against LHP Robbie Ross. ... Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt took a Bloomquist foul ball off the mask in the fifth inning, requiring attention from the Seattle training staff. Wendelstedt was able to stay in the game.
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