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Smoak's three hits rally Mariners past Rangers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SEATTLE -- Justin Smoak continues to pile up RBI, Jack Cust came through with a game-winning hit for the second time in the past few days and Erik Bedard threw seven brilliant innings.

The Seattle Mariners who struggled badly just a few weeks ago are suddenly rolling.

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Smoak's RBI single in the eighth inning, his third hit of the game, pulled Seattle even, Cust followed with the go-ahead RBI single, and the Mariners rallied for a 4-3 victory against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Seattle won for the sixth time in seven games, thanks to a gutty pitching effort from Bedard and some clutch hitting in the late innings.

"We always feel like we're in it," Smoak said. "Our pitching is going to keep us in games and as along as we can get those clutch hits with guys in scoring position we've got a chance."

The Mariners returned from a 5-1 road trip -- the only setback a 3-2 loss in Boston decided in the ninth inning -- and picked up right where they left off.

And this victory involved a little of everything: aggressive baserunning, timely hitting, a little small ball and strong pitching.

Bedard was much of the story, overcoming a horrid first inning where he threw 33 pitches and seemed destined for a short night. But the oft-injured, often criticized lefty proceeded to throw seven strong innings, carrying a no-hitter until Ian Kinsler doubled to lead off the sixth -- even though the game was tied at 1 at the time.

Bedard walked Kinsler and Andres Blanco to start the game, then got no help when Chone Figgins booted Adrian Beltre's grounder that allowed Kinsler to score. But after Beltre reached, Bedard was nearly perfect. He set down the next 14 batters, getting two nice defensive plays by Figgins to keep the streak going and a no-hitter alive.

That hope left when Kinsler led off the sixth with a double into the left-field corner, advanced to third on Blanco's sacrifice bunt and scored when Michael Young's grounder slid under second baseman Kennedy as he tried to smother it with the Mariners infield drawn in.

Bedard went seven innings, giving up two runs and three hits while striking out three, relying heavily on a good curveball and his changeup. It was his second successive start of at least seven innings, the first time he had done that since May 2 and May 7, 2008.

"As the game progressed, the changeup got really good and the curveball, too. I was throwing them for strikes, and that's what helped me out later in the game," Bedard said.

Bedard's effort was good enough to let Seattle's bats come through late.

It started in the seventh when Texas reliever Pedro Strop (0-1) gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Langerhans, who moved to second on a wild pitch and aggressively beat the throw sliding head first into third on Brendan Ryan's sacrifice bunt. Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a double play, but Langerhans scored to pull even at 2.

David Pauley (1-0) took over for Bedard in the eighth and saw Texas retake the lead when Julio Borbon led off with a single and scored standing up on Andrus' perfectly placed squeeze bunt. But Pauley limited the damage to only one run.

Seattle opened the eighth with a bloop single by Adam Kennedy that fell in front of David Murphy in left field. Miguel Olivo then dropped a bunt to advance pinch-runner Jack Wilson, but Strop slipped fielding the bunt and Olivo was safe.

Smoak grounded a 1-0 pitch into the hole between first and second. The grounder bounced off Mike Napoli as he dived and caromed into right field, allowing Wilson to score and Olivo to reach third. Smoak finished 3 for 4 with two RBI in his first home game since he left the team late last month following the death of his father. He now has 12 RBI in his past seven games.

Darren Oliver replaced Strop and saw Cust line his first pitch back up the middle to score Olivo with the go-ahead run.

"I've faced him a bunch over the years. I know he doesn't really have a pattern or anything like that. So you just have to be ready to hit," Cust said. "I know what his ball does ... the pitch was up a little bit and I was able to get it through the infield."

Notes

  • Injured Rangers CF Josh Hamilton is expected to begin hitting off a tee on Wednesday. It's his first steps in returning from a broken right arm suffered last month against Detroit.
  • Seattle rookie RHP Michael Pineda was named AL rookie of the month on Tuesday. Pineda went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in April.
  • Rangers RF Nelson Cruz left in the seventh inning with tightness in his right quad.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Erik Bedard dominates on the mound and flirts with a no-no until he gives up a hit in the sixth inning. (AP)
Erik Bedard dominates on the mound and flirts with a no-no until he gives up a hit in the sixth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Seattle

J. Smoak
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Texas

I. Kinsler
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B2210100 .236
Andres Blanco, SS1000100 .182
   a- Elvis Andrus, PH-SS1011000 .264
Michael Young, DH4011002 .339
Adrian Beltre, 3B4011001 .252
Nelson Cruz, RF3000003 .219
    Mitch Moreland, RF1000011 .274
Mike Napoli, 1B4000033 .222
David Murphy, LF4000001 .272
Yorvit Torrealba, C3000000 .277
Julio Borbon, CF3110010 .262
Totals3035325  
a-hit a bunt single for Blanco in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ian Kinsler (9, Bedard)
SH - Ian Kinsler (1), Andres Blanco (2)
RBI - Elvis Andrus (12), Michael Young (24), Adrian Beltre (24)
SB - Ian Kinsler (5, 2nd base off Bedard/Olivo), Julio Borbon (3, 3rd base off Pauley/Olivo)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Blanco-Napoli
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alexi Ogando 6511160 2.17
Pedro Strop (BS,1; L,0-1) 1433000 3.72
Darren Oliver 1100020 2.92
HBP - Cust (by Alexi Ogando)
WP - Pedro Strop (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Alexi Ogando 102-68, Pedro Strop 24-15, Darren Oliver 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alexi Ogando 3-9, Pedro Strop 3-0, Darren Oliver 1-0
Batters Faced - Alexi Ogando 25, Pedro Strop 7, Darren Oliver 4
Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4110000 .315
Chone Figgins, 3B4010011 .207
Adam Kennedy, 2B4020001 .292
    Jack Wilson, PR-2B0100000 .238
Miguel Olivo, C3110113 .222
Justin Smoak, 1B4032000 .296
Jack Cust, DH3011002 .205
Michael Saunders, CF4000025 .203
Ryan Langerhans, LF4110035 .188
Brendan Ryan, SS3000015 .177
Totals33410318  
Batting
2B - Justin Smoak (7, Ogando)
SH - Brendan Ryan (4)
RBI - Justin Smoak 2 (19), Jack Cust (11)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Smoak (8)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Ryan-Smoak
E - Chone Figgins (4, Misplayed grounder)
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Erik Bedard 7222230 5.23
David Pauley (W,1-0) 1211000 1.56
Brandon League (S,8) 1100020 2.25
WP - Brandon League (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 103-65, David Pauley 11-7, Brandon League 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 11-8, David Pauley 2-0, Brandon League 1-0
Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 26, David Pauley 4, Brandon League 4
Game Information
Attendance - 12759
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 53
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Tony Randazzo