The M’s climbed back from a 4-0 deficit after a shaky start from Felix Hernandez and improved to 54-53.
ARLINGTON, Texas — They did it once against Cole Hamels and the Rangers. Why not do it again?
Down 4-0 after three innings with starter Felix Hernandez scuffling and facing the Rangers’ lefty wasn’t an ideal way for the Mariners to start their toughest stretch of games on their 2017 schedule, featuring 21 of the next 28 games away from Safeco Field.
But much like they did back on April 16 at Safeco, when they were down 6-1 to Hamels after three innings, the Mariners found a way to tie the score against the former All-Star starter, knocking him out of the game and get the victory late.
Mariners at Texas, 5:05 p.m., ROOT
Robinson Cano slammed a two-run single off lefty specialist Alex Claudio over the head of right fielder Shin Soo-Choo to break a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth and provide the difference in the Mariners’ 6-4 win over the Rangers.
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On a night where the bullpen reigned dominant with 32/3 scoreless innings and eight strikeouts, Edwin Diaz punctuated the effort by working a drama free, 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to notch his 20th save.
“The game did not start out in a great fashion,” manager Scott Servais said. “This says a lot about our guys. We just kept chipping away. We’ve been down a bunch here in games in the second half and we’ve found ways to get back into it and our bullpen has kept them there and allows us to complete the comeback. It’s a nice way to start the road trip in a place where we have struggled to come back and win games.”
The Mariners improved to 54-53. It’s just the second time they’ve been above .500 this season. The Mariners had been at an even .500 nine times and had lost seven of the previous eight games with a chance to over that milestone.
David Phelps (3-5) picked up the win in relief. He was absolutely dominant, facing six batters and striking out five and walking one.
“David was on it tonight,” Servais said. “His curveball was really good. He used it early in counts and his fastball had life up in the zone and a good cutter. Having that ability to extend him into the eighth is really valuable.”
Phelps entered the game with one out in the seventh inning. He struck out Adrian Beltre, walked Mike Napoli, which irritated him greatly, and struck out Joey Gallo.