12 K’s for Ray, slam for JRod and 12 W’s in row for Mariners

The M’s have won a total of 20 of their last 23 games.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray does not recall being part of a run like the Seattle Mariners are these days. It’s all a new experience in the big leagues for all-star rookie midfielder Julio Rodríguez and he just keeps delivering impressive things.

Ray hit 12 without a walk over 6 2/3 innings before Rodríguez scored an emphatic grand slam as the Mariners extended their longest winning streak in more than two decades to 12 games with an 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

“He doesn’t let the moment get bigger than it is and in this situation,” Ray said of the 21-year-old fielder, who was playing his 89th game in the majors.

Rodríguez hit his first slam on a full-count pitch with two outs to direct center for his 16th homer and finished with a career-best five RBIs. His run-scoring single in the fourth gave the Mariners a 3-0 lead.

“Tonight was more of our typical formula, dominant starting pitching,” said manager Scott Servais. “We’ve got some big hits tonight, no question. Talk about Julio being as good as punch against a quality bullpen arm. … The looks in our dugout when that ball went over the fence were like, did he really do that? But he’s a special player.

After Seattle loaded the bases with a single and two walks from reliever AJ Alexy to start the eighth, José Leclerc hit back-to-back batters but couldn’t get a third strike past Rodríguez.

“We fought, we got on a run, you could feel the momentum. We were one seat away, the entire eighth inning, the end of the eighth inning,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “It’s heartbreaking. But as I’ve said many times this year, we need to recover and come back tomorrow.”

The only time the Mariners have had an extended winning streak was their team-record 15 straight wins in 2001, their final playoff season. They have won 20 of their last 23 games overall. Atlanta has the only extended streak in the major leagues this season with 14 straight wins.

Eugenio Suárez doubled and scored Seattle’s first run in the fourth. His sacrifice fly an inning later made it 4-0 before Corey Seager and Leody Taveras scored for the Rangers.

Ray (8-6) hit his season high for strikeouts while conceding three runs on those two Texas homers. It was his 15th game since the start of 2021 with at least 10 Ks, tying the most in that span with Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes. Ray had 10 such games last season as the left-hander won the AL Cy Young Award while fielding for Toronto.

“That’s probably the best thing I’ve felt all year. I felt like everything was working really well for me,” said Ray, who defeated five straight Rangers after Seattle’s third fourth heat. “If your team pulls a crook, you go out and attack, attack the zone and try to get back in and get more runs.”

Taylor Hearn (4-6) hit his career high with seven strikeouts over four innings after Matt Bush’s opener hit a scoreless first. Hearn allowed four runs, two earned, while giving up five hits and walking two.

Seager’s 22nd homer came a day after he was named to the American League All-Star Team and Home Run Derby. He will face Rodríguez in the first round of the derby next week at Dodger Stadium, home of Seager’s first seven seasons in the big league before he signed a 10-year, $325 million contract last winter when Free Agency went to Texas.

That two-out solo shot in the sixth was Seager’s seventh homer in the last 10 games and extended his career-best RBI streak to eight games. His career high for homers is 26 in 2016. Taveras hit a two-run homer in the seventh homer to reduce the deficit to 4-3.

Mariners DH Justin Upton was kicked out trying to score from second base on Rodríguez’s single in the fourth. Elier Hernández, playing just his second game in the majors after more than a decade in the minors, threw the ball into flat left field with a bounce and made a direct throw in the air that allowed catcher Jonah Heim to grab and substituting Upton in one motion.

Mariners: SS JP Crawford was absent from the lineup for the second straight game since injuring his right index finger in a doubleheader in Washington on Wednesday. Servais said the finger only really limits Crawford’s throwing and that he could be available to hit.

Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert (10-3, 2.80 ERA) allowed a deserved 12 2/3 innings run in his last two starts against the Rangers this year. Texas right-hander Spencer Howard (1-1, 8.04) is 1-3 with a 9.95 ERA in his seven career games (six starts) at Globe Life Field.

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/12-ks-for-ray-slam-for-jrod-and-12-ws-in-row-for-mariners/281-55b8d2ed-a8b0-4192-8876-3139ef75c1d0 12 K’s for Ray, slam for JRod and 12 W’s in row for Mariners

Emma Bowman

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