Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cano keeps raking, powers Mariners vs. Texas

Robinson Cano launched two home runs -- including a two-run shot in the top of the ninth -- as the Mariners rallied to beat the Rangers, 9-5, and win their season-opening series at Globe Life Park.
The Mariners scored five times on five straight hits off closer Shawn Tolleson in the ninth to overcome a 5-4 deficit for their second straight victory. Cano now has four home runs, the most ever by a Mariner in the first three games of a season and the first second baseman in the Majors to accomplish that since Bobby Doerr in 1941.
Kyle Seager preceded Cano's ninth-inning shot with a two-run single after Leonys Martintied the game with a run-scoring double to cap a 3-for-5 game against his former Texas team. Cano finished with five RBIs, including a bases-loaded walk.
"We're pretty good, and we're starting to come together," said first-year Mariners manager Scott Servais. "The biggest thing is it's not one guy, it's not two guys, it's an entire group. It's a bullpen group, starting pitchers keeping us in games, a very deep lineup, bench guys, everybody has to contribute."
Prince Fielder's three-run blast in the sixth inning, a second-deck shot off Wade Miley, had given the Rangers a 5-3 lead after Seattle jumped out early on Cano's first dinger and a solo shot by Martin.
Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, while Miley -- acquired by trade from the Red Sox -- gave up five runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in six innings in his Mariners debut.
"I was just not being myself the first couple innings, kind of nibbling, not getting ahead of guys, [not doing] the things that make me good," Lewis said.
The Mariners, who scored six runs in the eighth inning against the Rangers' bullpen in a 10-2 victory on Tuesday, had just one win in all of 2015 when trailing heading into the ninth. Seattle's bullpen didn't allow a run in 10 innings in the series.
Home run derby carries over: Cano's two-run shot in the first got the Mariners off to a 2-0 lead against Lewis, and former Rangers center fielder Martin followed with his first homer in a Mariners uniform with a two-out shot in the second. That made it five home runs in a four-inning span for Seattle, going back to Tuesday's three-homer barrage in the eighth. Cano's blast to right-center gave him three home runs in his first 10 at-bats this season, and he added his fourth in the final-inning rally, a dramatic difference from a year ago, when he didn't hit his third long ball until his 68th game of the season.
"It was a good series," said Cano, "not because of the way I ended up swinging the bat, but the way we ended up coming back, especially in that game, and be able to win the series."More >
Lewis keeps his cool: Initially, it looked like Lewis was on his way to a disastrous start, as he fell behind, 3-0, before he had recorded his sixth out. Lewis got help from his defense to get out of the next three innings -- Texas made an inning-ending double play in the third andcaught Mariners stealing in the fourth and fifth -- and then Lewis had his only 1-2-3 inning of the outing in a quick sixth frame before Keone Kela relieved him to start the seventh.
"He sharpened as the game went along," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He found a rhythm, found the strike zone where he liked it, continued to pound it outside. Once he found that range, I felt like Colby threw the ball very well."
Dyson cleans up mess: Rangers reliever Sam Dyson needed one pitch to get the Rangers out of the diciest situation of the game. The Mariners loaded the bases against Kela, who had taken over for Lewis, and then lefty Jake Diekman, pitching for the third consecutive day, could not get his man. Diekman walked Cano and pulled Seattle within one run, but Dyson entered and got Nelson Cruz to fly out to center field on the first pitch to preserve a 5-4 lead in the seventh.
Miley digs in: The Mariners' new No. 3 starter gave up his hits in bunches. Three hits in four batters led to a pair of runs in the second for Texas. Miley then retired 11 straight before giving up four straight hits in the sixth, including Fielder's homer. But just as the Rangers seemed on the verge of knocking him out, Miley recovered to strike out three straight --Rougned OdorRyan Rua and Justin Ruggiano -- to end that inning and keep his team close.
"I was just trying to get back on pace. It's over. It happened," Miley said. "You just have to move forward and keep going at 'em. That was a terrible slider [to Fielder]. I threw him one the at-bat before, and he popped out to center. He wasn't going to let it get by him again."
"It's never say die. We do have a long lineup, and it's just a matter of getting the right guys on and getting good pitches to hit. It's not going to be the same one or two guys. Obviously, our second baseman is hot right now, but it's the entire club that is producing. You have to get 10 and nine runs in back-to-back games." -- Servais, on his team's second late-game offensive outburst
"All those guys can hit the ball -- that's what they do when you make mistakes. I'm not surprised at all." -- Fielder, on the Mariners' nine home runs in the three-game series
Cano will have a chance to make some history in Seattle's home opener Friday. Only four players have ever homered in the first four games of their team's season -- Willie Mays in 1971, Mark McGwire in '98, Nelson Cruz in 2011 and Chris Davis in '13.
Mariners: Taijuan Walker gets the start in Seattle's home opener against the A's on Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. The 23-year-old right-hander went 11-8 with a 4.56 ERA last year, but he allowed 12 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings in two starts against Oakland.
Rangers: Lefty Derek Holland will start against the Angels at 9:05 p.m. CT Thursday in Anaheim as the Rangers begin a seven-game road trip. Holland struggled at the end of an injury-abbreviated 2015 season, with a 7.62 ERA and .327 opponents' batting average in his last five starts.

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