ARLINGTON -- The Rangers struck early and held on for a 5-3 victory over the Mariners in the first of a four-game series at Globe Life Park on Monday night. The Rangers, who led 4-1 after two innings, are now two games behind the idle Twins in the race for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
The Mariners dropped to 3 1/2 games behind the Twins with their ninth loss in their last 14 games. The Rangers had lost two straight to the Yankees, but have still won eight of their last 13.
"I think we're just a bunch of resilient guys," outfielder Delino DeShields said. "We're just playing for each other. I know we've had kind of an up-and-down year. But it's not how you start, it's how you finish. We're just trying to find ways to win games, and just got to do the little things. The beautiful thing about our team, it can be anybody on a certain night. But tonight was a good team win."
Rangers starter Cole Hamels earned the victory by holding the Mariners to three runs in six innings. He allowed six hits, including home runs to Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger, walked one and struck out seven. He is now 7-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 10 starts at home this season.
"That was a big plus for us," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We talk about our guys managing the game, keeping us in the game, minimizing damage. He was able to do that. Huge plus for him to go out there and do that and give us an opportunity."
Haniger went 3-for-4 with a double and the home run and is batting .489 (22-for-45) with four home runs over his last 11 games. His first-inning double had an exit velocity of 109.8 mph, per Statcast™, his second-hardest hit of the season.
"I've been feeling good," said the rookie right fielder. "For me, if I swing at good pitches and drive the ball hard, no matter how my day goes, that's my goal. So I try to be happy whether I get a lot of hits or no hits that day."
The Rangers knocked out Mariners starter Ariel Miranda after 1 2/3 innings with four runs. Nomar Mazara hit a two-run double in the first and Shin-Soo Choo drove in two with a double in the second.
Mariners rookie right-hander Andrew Moore took over in the third and retired 18 of 20 batters faced over six innings. He struck out seven and walked one. But the only hit was a home run by DeShields in the fourth that gave the Rangers a 5-3 lead.
"Obviously, Miranda has taken the ball every time out for us, but he just didn't have much in the tank tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "You could see that early on. I was hoping to get a couple innings out of him. It didn't happen, but awesome job from Andrew Moore. He threw the ball outstanding, much like he did last time out for us. Certainly we'll look at him possibly sliding in the rotation for us in that spot moving forward."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Mazara's big hit off lefty: Mazara's double in the first continued his resurgence against left-handed pitching. Mazara is hitting is .333 off left-handers since Aug. 3 after going 0-for-22 from June 22 to Aug. 1 against them.
Middlebrooks makes terrific play: Rangers third baseman Will Middlebrooks made a sensational play with one out in the ninth to keep the Mariners from mounting a rally. Carlos Ruiz hit a smash that Middlebrooks snagged with a dive to his left and threw to first for the out. The ball had an exit velocity of 105 miles per hour.
"We made some tremendous plays on defense, Middlebrooks at the end," Banister said. "The outfield play was nice tonight, all-around solid defense."
"For me, if I hit a ball in the gap or down the line, or somebody else does, I'm thinking three bases. I was looking down to make sure I touched the base. When I looked up, he gave me the stop sign but there was no stopping. I was full throttle. There was no stopping me on that one." -- DeShields, on running through third-base coach Jason Wood's stop sign to score from first on Choo's double in the second
"Offensively, we didn't get a lot going. Haniger had a nice night with the home run and a couple other hits. We hit a couple balls hard and their third baseman played a very good game defensively. He made some good plays against us. You have to do more offensively, certainly in this ballpark, to have a chance to win a ballgame." -- Servais
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Seager loves hitting at Globe Life Park. He now has 10 home runs and 23 doubles in 59 games in Arlington, both the most of his career in any visiting ballpark, while batting .315 with 39 RBIs.
REVIEW REAPS RANGERS RUNS
After a one-out walk by Ryan Rua in the second, DeShields dropped a bunt and was thrown out on a close play by Miranda. The Rangers challenged the call by umpire Jeff Nelson and the review showed DeShields barely beating the throw. Both runners then scored on a two-run double by Choo.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Rookie left-hander Marco Gonzales starts against the Rangers at 5:05 p.m. PT Tuesday at Globe Life Park. Since being acquired from the Cardinals, he is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in five starts for the Mariners but threw four scoreless innings in relief in his last outing against the Athletics on Sept. 2.
Rangers: Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez pitches against the Mariners at 7:05 p.m. CT Tuesday in his second start since being acquired from the White Sox. He allowed four runs in three innings in his first start against the Braves.