SEATTLE — Even without injured stars Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus, catcher Robinson Chirinos still sees plenty of potential in the Texas Rangers’ lineup.
And the past two nights, the Rangers flashed late-game maturity to go along with it in topping the Seattle Mariners.
Chirinos’ tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning capped another late-inning rally, and the Rangers beat Seattle 7-6 on Wednesday.
The Rangers did damage in back-to-back games against a wild and ineffective Seattle bullpen which surrendered five runs in the sixth and seventh inning after ace left-hander James Paxton departed with a 4-2 lead.
“These guys continue to stay in the at-bat, grind them out and we were able to push across some runs,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Delino DeShields (walk) and Shin-Soo Choo (single) reached base for Texas to open the seventh against right-hander Ryan Cook.
Two batters later, Nomar Mazara greeted left-hander Marc Rzepczynski with a sharp two-run single to center field to tie the game at 5-all.
“His sinker is really good, so he is going to keep it throwing to me,” Mazara said. “I was able to put a good swing on it and find a hole.”
Rzepczynski walked Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo before he was pulled without getting an out.
“The key for relievers is that first batter you come in to face,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Tonight, (against) all of our guys, the first (hitter) got on. Our guys are human.”
Against Juan Nicasio, Seattle’s third pitcher of the inning, Chirinos lined a hit off Ryon Healy’s glove at first base, easily scoring the go-ahead runs.
“We have the talent to win close games,” said Chirinos, who had a season-high three RBIs, going 3 for 5. “Guys have been working hard to be consistent at the plate.”
Rzepczynski (0-1) saw his ERA jump from 7.04 to 9.39. He has given up runs in three of his seven May appearances.
A night after issuing eight walks in a 9-5 loss, Seattle pitching gave up seven walks Wednesday.
“Our bullpen has kind of gotten away from us a little bit,” Servais said. “We’ve gotten a little sloppy with the walks, which has hurt us. It catches up to you.”
It was the Rangers’ first back-to-back wins on the road since taking the first two games of a series in Toronto, April 27-28. Right-hander Tony Barnette (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in relief of Matt Moore. Keone Kela earned his 12th save, giving up an RBI single in the ninth to Nelson Cruz.
Seattle’s backup catcher, Chris Herrmann, tweaked his rib cage during batting practice Tuesday, and was placed on the 10-day DL an hour before first pitch Wednesday. David Freitas, who was in Triple-A Tacoma, was already with the team, just in case a move was made. . Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder) had his batting-practice throwing session delayed yet another day Wednesday with a stiff neck.
Rangers: Left-hander Mike Minor (4-3, 5.63 ERA) has a team-high four wins. And even though he has had an awful May (2-2, 6.91 ERA this month), he won his last start in Kansas City on Friday. He has two no-decisions already against the Mariners this season.
Mariners: Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (0-0, 2.70 ERA) has given up just five runs in 26 1/3 innings (1.71 ERA) in five starts. The most he’s given up in any start is two runs. This will be his first career start against Texas.