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Mariners overcome homer-turned-single in win over Rangers.

Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor (No 12) turns a double play as Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger (No 17) is out at second during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. PICTURE: USA TODAY Sports

By Ryan Divish/The Seattle Times

Given the current state of the Seattle Mariners to start the season, having a three-run homer turned into an RBI single and a three-run lead dropped to just one run, seemed like a perfect recipe for yet another heartbreaking loss in what has been a frustrating April. Instead, the Mariners persevered through the bad break and hung on for a win. Given a brilliant start from Felix Hernandez and the go-ahead homer turned to single from Mitch Haniger and a save from Edwin Diaz, Seattle picked up a 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Haniger's roller coaster of emotions came in the seventh inning. He had barely finished getting congratulations from his teammates in the dugout following what was initially ruled a three-run homer to left field when the first replay appeared on the Mariners' massive screen. At that point, it became clear that he should stop celebrating and get ready to return to the field. What appeared to be his team-high fourth homer of the year - an ultra-important three-run homer to break a 1-1 tie - was going to be taken away. The fly ball that appeared to become a souvenir in Edgar's Cantina had not quite entered the establishment. It was stopped short like an underage kid with a fake ID. The would-be homer hit off the top of the wall and bounced back in. The first of many replays showed it hitting on the edge of the area painted high-visibility yellow and bouncing back in. Not only was the homer taken away, but because Guillermo Heredia was tagging at first base and only got to second base on the play when the ball bounced back in, Haniger was given just a single. Following the almost three-minute delay and plenty of booing from the crowd of 41,855, the Mariners had to try and get back the two runs they had lost to the replay. They still had runners on first and second with no outs and Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz coming to the plate. They left the inning with just the one-run lead. Facing lefty Dario Alvarez, Cano popped up to shortstop. The Rangers brought in right-hander Jeremy Jeffress to face Cruz. It resulted in broken-bat double play to end the inning. Hernandez delivered his best outing of the young season, showing excellent command and the pitch efficiency the Mariners have craved to see from him. Hernandez pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts. He threw just 89 pitches with 63 strikes. Cruz provided the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with his first homer of the season. He had gone 10 games and 44 plate appearances without breaking out the "Boomstick" as he likes to call it. But that changed on a 3-2 pitch from his former teammate Perez. Cruz scalded the 96-mph fastball over the middle of the plate, hitting a low line drive that cut through the frigid night air, leaving its own trail of steam, as it cleared the wall in centre. Hernandez couldn't quite make the 1-0 lead stand-up. His lone run allowed came in the top of the sixth. With a 1-0 lead, he gave up a bloop single to left to Jurickson Profar to start the inning. Carlos Gomez popped up a bunt in front of the mound, but the ball had enough backspin on it that when it hit the infield grass between the mound and home plate, catcher Mike Zunino couldn't make a play on it. That put runners on first and second with no outs. It looked as if Hernandez might get out of the jam when Shin-Soo Choo hit into a check swing 5-4-3 double play to Kyle Seager at third. But with Profar on third, the ultra-hot Nomar Mazara bounced a single up the middle past a diving Taylor Motter to tie the game at 1-1.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Apr 15, 2017
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