By Tim Booth / Associated Press
SEATTLE — Marco Gonzales recovered from a shaky start to throw seven strong innings, Austin Nola hit a three-run homer to put Seattle ahead for good and the Mariners handed the Texas Rangers their eighth straight loss with a 7-3 victory Monday night.
The Rangers’ swoon since the All-Star break continued as Texas was shut down by Gonzales (11-8) after the second inning. The left-hander finished seven innings for the second time in his past three starts, retiring 13 straight during one stretch and 17 of the final 18 batters he faced.
Gonzales allowed seven hits and struck out four, but was lucky to even get through the second. Texas took a 2-0 lead after Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI single, the last of four singles in five batters to start the inning. But Gonzales struck out Danny Santana looking on a borderline pitch and got a lineout from Elvis Andrus to end the threat.
From there the only baserunner Gonzales allowed was Rougned Odor, who reached on a two-out single in the sixth. Roenis Elias got the final out for his 12th save.
Texas is 2-8 since the break and has fallen back to .500 at 50-50.
Nola hit his third homer in the bottom of the second off Texas starter Adrian Sampson. Mallex Smith added a two-run single in the fourth and Kyle Seager homered leading off the eighth. Sampson (6-7) made his first start since July 5 after three straight appearances out of the bullpen and gave up six runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings.
STEALING A RUN
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the first with the help of an ambitious Rangers fan with good seats. With two outs, Hunter Pence hit a foul ball near the stands down the left field line. Seager raced over and leaned into the stands to make the catch, only to have it stolen by a young Rangers fan sitting in the first row. Later in the at-bat Pence singled to score Andrus.
The Rangers placed closer Shawn Kelley on the 10-day injured list with biceps soreness in his right arm, but manager Chris Woodward said the injury appears far less severe than first believed. Kelley left Sunday’s game in Houston in the bottom of the eighth after throwing several warmup pitches. An MRI showed no acute injury. Texas selected the contract of reliever Rafael Montero from Triple-A Nashville to take Kelley’s roster spot and designated for assignment outfielder Carlos Tocci to clear a 40-man roster spot.
Seattle second baseman Dee Gordon left after the second inning and was replaced by Dylan Moore. Gordon was hit in the back of the shoulder on a pickoff attempt by Sampson. Gordon finished the inning on the bases but was replaced.