Texas Rangers rookie Josh Jung continued his RBI streak, but that was the only good thing to come out of their 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
The Rangers (66-88) had ace Martín Pérez on the hill, and while he was solid, the Mariners (84-7) capitalized on his early control problems to build a lead the Rangers couldn’t overcome. Meanwhile, it was Jung who gave Texas an early lead as he continued his resurgence at the plate.
Jung was in an 0-for-20 slump before getting two hits against Cleveland on Sunday. On Tuesday night, he drove in all five Rangers runs in a career night. Then, in the top of the first, his RBI single scored the game’s first run and extended his RBI streak to six.
But Mariners starter George Kirby (8-4) wasn’t willing to give up much more than that. He pitched six innings, giving up five hits and a run. He walked one and struck out four to drop his ERA to 3.21. He escaped a jam in the third after giving up back-to-back singles to Bubba Thompson and Marcus Semien. He retired the next three hitters and never faced another serious threat.
The Mariners (84-70) continued to close in on clinching an American League Wild-Card berth. Earlier Wednesday, the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox, dropping the Mariners’ magic number to clinch the berth to four. The Mariners’ win over the Rangers dropped the number to three.
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Pérez (12-7) threw seven innings of solid baseball, but a lack of command early hurt him. He gave up two runs in the bottom of the first, throwing nearly 30 pitches while giving up an RBI double to Eugenio Suarez and an RBI sacrifice fly to Mitch Haniger.
Down 2-1, he gave up an additional run in the bottom of the third, but it could have been much worse. He allowed singles to Ty France and Suarez, and then walked Haniger to load the bases. Pérez retired the next three hitters, with only Carlos Santana’s fielder’s choice groundout scoring France.
Pérez threw 102 pitches, giving up five hits, three runs and three walks. He struck out three as he broke the record for most consecutive starts of six innings or more by a Rangers left-hander, formerly held by Kenny Rogers.
The Rangers conclude the series with the Mariners on Thursday as Rangers right-hander Jon Gray (7-7, 3.64) will face the Mariners’ Marco Gonzales (10-15, 4.05).
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard