Ian Kinsler Homers Twice as Rangers Win 10th Straight
SEATTLE (AP) -- Facing Felix Hernandez, the Texas Rangers knew they were going to have to make the most of their chances.
Elvis Andrus managed to score from third base on a soft chopper back to the mound and former Missouri Tiger Ian Kinsler hit two home runs off the Mariners ace as the Rangers cruised to their 10th straight victory with a 5-1 win over Seattle on Saturday night.
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The winning streak is the longest in the majors this season.
"That's the way we played last year in the second half and that's what we've been waiting for our team," Andrus said.
For the Mariners, it was their season-high eighth straight loss.
With the Rangers holding a 2-1 lead, Kinsler hit his second home run of the game off Hernandez with one out in the eighth inning. As soon as Kinsler connected, Hernandez threw a punch in the air in obvious disgust as the ball sailed into the left-field seats.
"We see him a lot so we know the movement of his pitches, we've seen it a bunch, but there's no approach for him," Kinsler said of Hernandez. "You just got to hope he makes a couple mistakes. That's basically what it comes down to."
Andrus followed with a single to left field for his third hit of the night. Hernandez balked to move Andrus to second, prompting manager Eric Wedge to vehemently argue with second-base umpire Fieldin Culbreath before getting tossed from the game. A wild pitch then moved Andrus to third and he scored on a chopper back to the mound from Josh Hamilton that Hernandez nonchalantly tossed to first base, allowing Andrus to score to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.
"He was like checking me out, then as soon as he turned he thought I was coming back. ... When you have a chance like that, we're going to take it," Andrus said.
It's exactly the kind of play manager Ron Washington hopes to see from his surging ball club.
"Just being heads-up," Washington said. "Ground ball hit back to him and Elvis went down the line and froze him and pretended like he was going back and (Hernandez) lobbed it over there and Elvis took advantage of it and he beat the throw. That's a part of our game also. It's exciting."
Rangers starter C.J. Wilson (10-3), who allowed just one run and struck out seven in seven innings of work, was pumped after watching Andrus slide in front of the tag from Miguel Olivo.
"One of the most exciting plays I've ever seen was Elvis scoring on that comebacker right there," Wilson said. "It looked like Felix sort of mentally checked out there for a tenth of a second and that's all it took for Elvis to make that good decision and go home right there. It's like a Little League play, it was awesome."
Jamey Wright replaced Hernandez and gave up a single to Adrian Beltre and double to Nelson Cruz to score Beltre from first that gave Texas a 5-1 cushion.
"You just got to keep trying, we have to figure out ways to win games," Hernandez said. "Today I was trying to win the game, I was pumped up but couldn't do it."
Kinsler hit his fifth leadoff home run of the season off Hernandez (8-8) as the Rangers jumped on top early.
Wilson allowed just one hit and a walk to the floundering Mariners offense over the first four innings, pushing the Mariners' scoreless-inning streak to a franchise-record 30 straight innings without a run.
Franklin Gutierrez led off the fifth inning with a single and stole second base to get into scoring position with no one out. Ichiro Suzuki delivered a two-out single to center to break their scoring drought and even the game at 1-1.
Endy Chavez led off the sixth inning with a single to right and moved to second on a sacrifice from Kinsler. Andrus singled to drive in Chavez and give Texas the 2-1 lead.