3/3/2013 5:49 P.M. ET
Nathan makes scoreless debut in Rangers' loss
By William Boor / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Seattle Mariners continued slugging their way to victory as extra-base hits led the team to a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Kendrys Morales hit a two-run home run to center field in the first inning and Jesus Montero hit a long ball of his own in the third as the Mariners won their ninth-straight Cactus League contest.
Seattle has now hit 22 home runs during Spring Training, the most of any team in either the Grapefruit or Cactus League.
The Mariners' offense was more than just a product of home runs, with Mike Zunino and Brendan Ryan also netting extra base hits.
Seattle also received a strong performance from Joe Saunders as the left-handed starter threw two innings and allowed just one hit.
Rangers starter Justin Grimm was hoping to bounce back from a forgettable performance earlier this spring, but was unable to keep the ball low in the zone and got hit hard throughout afternoon.
In 2 2/3 innings of work, Grimm allowed six runs and gave up six hits, five of which resulted in extra bases.
While Grimm's performance was not what the Rangers hoped it would be, the debuts of Joe Nathan and Engel Beltre were smooth.
Nathan pitched one inning, allowed one hit and no runs.
"Today was a good day to go out there, kind of get those nerves a little bit, game nerves, but still go out there and make sure you're throwing strikes and working on some things that you might want to incorporate into the season," Nathan said. "It feels like I'm on pace to do what I need to now in March and stay on a schedule to get somewhere around the nine, 10, 11, 12-inning mark and be ready for Opening Day."
Beltre, who had been limited by a left shoulder, finished 1-for-3, including an RBI triple down the right field line, but also grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.
Lance Berkman, playing in back-to-back games for the first time this spring, also had an RBI single.
Up next: Adrian Beltre is expected to appear in a game for the first time Monday as the Rangers host the San Diego Padres at 2:05 p.m. CT. Beltre has been nursing a strained right calf.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.