Pierzynski's three-run homer lifts Rangers

Scott Johnson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The first time Seattle Mariners pitcher Joe Saunders intentionally walked Adrian Beltre to get to A.J. Pierzynski on Monday night, the Texas Rangers' catcher hit into a bases-loaded groundout in the first inning.
Saunders wasn't so fortunate the next time he gave Beltre a free pass.
Pierzynski's two-out, three-run homer after another intentional walk broke open a close game in the seventh inning, and the Rangers went on to snap a two-game winning streak with an 8-3 win.
Pierzynski's 15th home run of the season turned a one-run game into a 7-3 lead. Teammate Mitch Moreland added an eighth-inning solo shot off reliever Yoervis Medina as five of the Rangers' 11 hits went for extra bases.
Pierzynski, who had a career .200 batting average against Saunders before the homer, said he understood why the Mariners walked Beltre in front of him.
"I'd do the same thing if I was playing us," he said. "The way (Beltre is) swinging the bat, I'd do the same thing. It makes all the sense in the world. ... You take pride in what you do, but I understand I'm not Barry Bonds. It's part of the game."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge defended his decision to walk Beltre twice - despite the outcome.
"If you get a chance to pitch to Beltre, you've got to walk him," he said. "He's one of the hottest hitters right now."
Pierzynski homered for the first time in 26 career at-bats against Saunders.
"He made a mistake - finally," Pierzynski said of the slider he took deep on the veteran left-hander. "It seems like every time I go up there, he doesn't [make a mistake]. He's good against me."
Saunders allowed seven runs over seven innings, marking the fifth time in his past seven starts that he has been charged with five runs or more. Saunders (10-13) is 1-4 with a 7.42 ERA since July 24.
Texas starter Travis Blackley (2-1) allowed three runs on six hits over six innings of work.
The Rangers' Elvis Andrus went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored as Texas (76-55) maintained its two-game lead atop the AL West.
Seattle (59-71) dropped to 0-4 since Wedge returned from a month-long, health-related layoff. The Mariners have been outscored 22-5 since Wedge came back Friday night.
The three runs by Seattle were more than the Mariners scored during the entire three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
"We've got to collectively get it together," Wedge said. "In the short time I've been (back), we just haven't been able to have the approach at the plate that you'd hope to."
Texas jumped in front 2-0 on Alex Rios' bases-loaded single in the first, then took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fourth before Seattle's Kyle Seager hit a fourth-inning solo homer to put the Mariners within 4-3.
NOTES: Before Monday's game, the Mariners designated RHP Aaron Harang for assignment and activated OF Franklin Gutierrez from the 15-day disabled list. Harang, 35, went 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts this season. He was scheduled to start in Houston on Friday, which is also the day RHP Taijuan Walker, a top prospect, is scheduled to start for Triple-A Tacoma. ... Rangers OF Leonys Martin (ankle) sat out a second consecutive start. ... The Rangers are scheduled to start left-handers in all three games of the series. Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95 ERA) will pitch Tuesday against Seattle RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98), and Martin Perez will pitch Wednesday against Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez. ... Seattle C Humberto Quintero gunned down Elvis Andrus on a third-inning steal attempt, marking only the sixth time in 41 tries this season that Andrus has been caught stealing. ... Seager's fourth-inning blast gave him 20 homers in back-to-back seasons.

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