Taken in isolation, there wasn’t much for the Mariners not to like Tuesday in a 10-3 romp over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Ben Gamel and Kyle Seager each hit three-run homers in pacing a balanced 15-hit attack. Gamel and Robinson Cano each had three hits. Mike Zunino drove in two runs.
The Mariners scored four runs in the second inning and three more in the third in support for Marco Gonzales, who finally managed to make it through five innings and get his first victory since arriving in early August from Triple-A Tacoma.
The wider view is more sobering.
Minnesota also won and, since the Twins hold the lead in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth, all the Mariners accomplished in hammering Texas was to tread water while losing a day off the calendar.
The Mariners (72-73) still trail Minnesota by 3 1/2 games and now have just 17 games remaining. Los Angeles, Texas and Kansas City are also sitting between the Mariners and Twins.
“You get down to the end here,” Seager said, “and everything gets magnified. We knew where we’re at in the standings. We know who is ahead of us. We need to play better and take these games.”
Back to the positives.
Gonzales (1-1) wobbled a bit through his five innings in giving up three runs and eight hits, but he made it — a notable achievement after failing to do so in all five of his previous starts, which briefly cost him a spot in the rotation.
“My focus tonight,” he said, “was just getting ahead, throwing lots of strikes and hopefully getting lots of ground balls because the park does play pretty small here.”
As he did Sept. 2 in pitching four scoreless relief innings against Oakland, Gonzales pitched entirely from the stretch.
“I think pitching out of the pen the other day really helped me to simplify things,” he said. “I want to keep throwing strikes, and I want to get ahead. I think going out of the stretch eliminates some extra movements for me.
“Right now, that’s huge.”
The Mariners didn’t push it. Manager Scott Servais went to the bullpen to start the sixth inning even though Gonzales had thrown just 66 pitches. A relay of four relievers covered the final 12 outs with no damage.
“Five innings was kind of the goal coming in,” Servais said. “Lucky for us, and for him, he had a little cushion to work with. It was nice getting those runs on the board early.”
Gamel’s homer capped a four-run second inning that got the Mariners rolling against Texas starter Miguel Gonzalez, who then excited after yielding Seager’s three-run bomb in the third inning. Gonzalez fell to 7-11.
“That’s what it’s going to take,” Servais said. “Up and down our lineup, we’ve got to start having more consistent at-bats.”