Rangers stun Mariners with two-out pop
Murphy's three-run shot, Young's slam lead charge in Seattle
SEATTLE -- Manager Ron Washington looked over his starting lineup several hours before Tuesday's game with the Mariners.He had Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton in the lineup together for the first time in four games. He had David Murphy starting in left field. "That's our offensive lineup," Washington said. "We need to get this offense going and score some runs." The Rangers did just that, all with two outs, and Murphy started the onslaught. Murphy smashed a three-run home run in a five-run fifth inning as the Rangers rallied for an 11-6 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field. The Rangers had scored just five runs in their last three games. "It's only a matter of time," Murphy said. "This offense is too talented to be held down for long. We've faced some decent pitchers but we're going to have to beat those guys to get in the playoffs. Every offense goes through struggles but it was good to see us break out." The Rangers trailed, 5-2, going into the fifth inning before striking against Mariners pitcher Doug Fister. Michael Young, who is in the lineup every night, added a seventh-inning grand slam that helped the Rangers snap a two-game losing streak. "We made some adjustments, which is good to see," Young said. "Early on their starter was throwing the ball well. But we made some quick adjustments, which made me pretty happy. Now we've got to keep it going." The Rangers now have an eight-game lead over the Athletics and a nine-game lead over the Angels in the American League West. Scott Feldman, making his first relief appearance since being moved to the bullpen, earned his first victory since June 18 with two innings of work. The Rangers' fifth started when Elvis Andrus was hit by a pitch. He went to second on Young's single, to third on Hamilton's fly to center and scored on a wild pitch. With a runner on second, Guerrero blasted a drive to the deepest part of the park but Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez reached over the wall to take away a two-run home run. The reprieve was only temporary. The Mariners, forsaking matchups, decided to have Fister, a right-hander, intentionally walk Nelson Cruz, a right-handed hitter, to face Murphy. The move backfired as Murphy, swinging from the left side, crushed a 1-2 fastball deep into the right-field bleachers for a three-run home run. "I guess I'm not going to lie, that lit a fire under me," Murphy said. "With your competitive nature, you never like to see a guy walked in front of you. If anything, it just locked me in a little more." Singles by Cristian Guzman and Bengie Molina off of Fister and a base hit from Mitch Moreland off of Chris Seddon brought home the fifth run of the inning. Rangers starter C.J. Wilson struggled through his shortest outing of the season, lasting only three innings. He gave up four runs on six hits and four walks while striking out three. Wilson walked three in the first inning and the Mariners took a 2-0 lead on a two-run single by Jose Lopez. The Rangers tied it in the third on three straight two-out hits: a single by Hamilton, an RBI double by Guerrero and a run-scoring single by Cruz. But the Mariners struck back on a two-run home run by Michael Saunders in the third inning. Wilson, trailing 4-2, didn't come back for the fourth.
"It was really two different ballgames for us," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "Early in the ballgame we did a lot of things right, especially getting the pitch-count up on Wilson. I think we had 109 [pitches] at the end of four innings."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.