Justin Smoak #17 of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run double in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on April 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Smoak stroked the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning and made the game-saving catch in the ninth to send the Seattle Mariners to a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers to open a three- game series.
The Mariners nearly wasted a 6-3 lead in the ninth. Fernando Rodney walked Michael Choice and Elvis Andrus, back-to-back, with the bases loaded and one out. Adrian Beltre, who was just activated off the disabled list Friday, then lined a ball destined for the right-field corner, but Smoak made the diving stop. Choice was frozen by the incredible play and Smoak tagged the base for the game-ending double play and secured Rodney's fourth save.
Robinson Cano hit a two-run double for the Mariners, who have won two in a row following an eight-game skid. The only other time Seattle won consecutive games came during a 3-0 start.
Yoervis Medina (1-1) pitched one inning to get the win.
Prince Fielder had two hits and scored once for the Rangers, who lost for the second time in 10 games.
Neal Cotts (1-2) loaded the bases on a single by Cano, a walk to Corey Hart and a bunt hit by Stefen Romero. Smoak then doubled to left, just beyond the reach of Choice. Kyle Seager hit a bloop single to left to plate Romero.
Alexi Ogando entered from the bullpen and uncorked a wild pitch to make it a three-run cushion.
J.P. Arencibia scored on a wild pitch in the third, and the Rangers moved to a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Beltre doubled to center to plate Andrus.
The Mariners tied it in the fifth on Cano's two-run double to left, but Fielder made it 3-2 Texas in the sixth when he scored on a wild pitch from Dominic Leone.
Rangers starter Robbie Ross Jr. pitched the first six innings and Seattle's Roenis Elias fanned six over the opening 5 2/3 frames.
The Rangers made room for Beltre on the roster by placing third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff on the DL with lower back tightness ... The Rangers went 0-for-6 with men in scoring position ... Beltre had been on the DL since April 13 with a strained left quad ... Rodney threw 27 pitches with only 13 strikes.