Leonys Martin had a game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning as the Texas Rangers scored two unearned runs in a two-out rally against Fernando Rodney, beating the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Wednesday night in a game that started as a battle of aces.
Rodney (0-1) retired the first two in the ninth before Kevin Kouzmanoff's single that ricocheted off the glove of sliding shortstop Brad Miller and dribbled into the outfield. Mitch Moreland drew a walk before pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy's grounder was fielded by Miller, whose toss to second base was high. The error allowed Moreland to slide in safely and extended the game.
The tying run came home on a wild pitch by Rodney, who had converted his first three save chances this season. Martin's sharp single to left gave Texas its fourth victory in the final at-bat at home already this season.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez struck out nine and had retired 10 in a row before Martin's leadoff triple in the eighth ended the big right-hander's night. Hernandez allowed four hits and one run, when Martin scored on a sacrifice fly against pinch-hitter Michael Choice, the first batter for reliever Charlie Furbush.
Yu Darvish struck eight and walked two in seven innings.
Rodney got off to a good start in the ninth, when he got Alex Rios on a flyout and struck out cleanup hitter Prince Fielder.
Martin also had nifty running catch, reaching and lunging with his arm fully extended steps from the center field wall to rob Dustin Ackley of a hit in the sixth.
But there was also a play in the fourth when Mike Zunino reached on what was ruled a single after a ball dropped between Martin and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who were both calling for the ball but backed off to avoid a collision. That was the last of Seattle's seven hits in the game.
Darvish didn't allow a run in his first two starts, but was down 2-0 in the second after No. 9 hitter Mike Zunino and Abraham Almonte had consecutive two-out RBI singles in the second.
This was the third head-to-head matchup of the star pitchers, and the first since 2012, the same year Darvish came to the major leagues from Japan. Hernandez won the first two, and has given up only two runs over 24 innings (0.75 ERA) in those three games. Darvish has a 6.75 ERA (13 earned runs over 17 1-3 innings) in games opposing King Felix.
Darvish is winless in his last eight home starts (0-3), despite a 2.33 ERA in those games. The right-hander hasn't won at home since last Aug. 1, and his only other start there this season was eight scoreless innings Friday night against Houston when the Rangers won 1-0 in 12 innings.
In his last inning on the mound against Seattle, Darvish repeatedly rubbed his thumb against the belt loop on his pants, leaving a bloody stain. He had the same problem against the Astros, when he was bleeding from a knuckle on his right thumb, something he has said happened to him multiple times in Japan and doesn't affect his pitching.
NOTES: Nick Franklin, who had a one-out triple in the second before scoring Seattle's first run, was recalled earlier Wednesday along with outfielder James Jones after left-hander Blake Beavan (shoulder tendinitis) and outfielder Logan Morrison (strained right hamstring) were put on the 15-day disabled list. ... The Rangers are 5-6 their last 11 games, alternating wins and losses. ... The Mariners had to hold up momentarily before coming off the field at the end of the fourth when Texas manager Ron Washington came out to question a force play at second base for the third out. Washington didn't challenge and ask umpires to look at the replay, which showed clearly that Moreland was out by a step.