Double Z: Zunino homers twice in Mariners' 8-1 win at Texas
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Mike Zunino homered twice, Jean Segura also went deep and the Seattle Mariners won 8-1 at Texas on Wednesday night, jumping over the Rangers in the wild-card chase and handing Martin Perez his first loss in eight starts.
Zunino broke a scoreless tie with one out in the fifth with his 22nd homer, a rare shot into the second-level club deck in left field. It was only the 23rd homer to reach that section in the ballpark that is in its 24th season.
His second solo homer, to right-center in the seventh for his third multihomer game this season, capped a five-run outburst by the Mariners that inning.
Mike Leake struck out five and allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings to win his third consecutive start for the Mariners since they acquired him from St. Louis on Aug. 30. The right-hander was 7-12 in 26 starts for the Cardinals this season.
Perez (12-11) had won seven consecutive starts since losing Aug. 4 at Minnesota, and missed the chance to match Kenny Rogers' franchise-record of eight in a row set in 2005. The lefty allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
Seattle (73-73) remained within 3 1/2 games of the second wild card spot held by Minnesota, which won in extra innings Wednesday night. The Mariners moved a half-game ahead of the Rangers (72-73) and Kansas City (72-73), which also lost.
Three batters after Zunino's first homer, Segura hit a two-run homer deep into the lower level of seats in left for a 3-0 lead.
Elvis Andrus hit a one-out double off the right-field wall in the Rangers sixth. He scored on a single by Robinson Chirinos that chased Leake before pinch-hitter Adrian Beltre's inning-ending flyout to shallow right-center.
Beltre, who this season joined the 3,000-hit club, appeared in a game for the first time since sustaining a left hamstring strain two weeks ago. The Rangers had said then that he'd be out at least four weeks, though the third baseman is pretty much limited to pinch-hitting duties for now since he still can't really run.
Rangers: 1B/OF Mike Napoli missed his fourth straight game with a stress reactor in his lower right leg that was confirmed after a second MRI. The Rangers said he is available to play, and Napoli said he "can go out there and deal with the pain."
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (5-4) is expected to come off the disabled list (right shoulder bursitis) and pitch for the first time since July 31, when he got a no-decision in his last start. That game was also in Texas, where he gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings.
Rangers: Andrew Cashner (9-9) has gone 6-2 with a 2.49 ERA over his last 11 starts.