SEATTLE (AP) — Marco Gonzales gave up a run in the first inning in part due to a fan. He gave up four singles in five batters to open the second and was immediately in a bases-loaded jam.
“For me, I’d rather have that early in the game than late when you’re fatigued,” Gonzales said. “Guys on base, those are big situations that you’d like to have early on, and then hopefully that gets you in a groove.”
Gonzales recovered from the shaky start to throw seven strong innings, Austin Nola hit a three-run homer to put Seattle ahead for good, and the Mariners handed the Texas Rangers their eighth straight loss with a 7-3 victory Monday night.
The Rangers’ swoon since the All-Star break continued as Texas was shut down by Gonzales (11-8) after the second inning. The left-hander finished seven for the second time in three starts, retiring 13 straight during one stretch and 17 of the final 18 batters he faced.
Gonzales allowed seven hits and struck out four, but was fortunate to even get through the second.
“Texas has been struggling a little bit and didn’t want to give them a bunch of early momentum. He was able to shut it off right there and give us a chance,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Texas took a 2-0 lead after Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI single, the last of four singles in five batters to start the second inning. But Gonzales struck out Danny Santana looking on a borderline pitch and won a lengthy battle against Elvis Andrus to end the threat with a lineout to right field. Gonzales needed 12 pitches to finally get Andrus, and the at-bat included eight foul balls.
“I was just trying to make stuff up. I didn’t know what he was doing, I don’t know if he knew what I was doing, but it was a good battle,” Gonzales said.
From there the only baserunner Gonzales allowed was Rougned Odor, who reached on a two-out single in the sixth. Roenis Elias got the final out for his 12th save.
Texas is 2-8 since the break and has fallen back to .500 at 50-50.
“You try not to let those things affect you, but everybody feels it, everybody wants to be the guy to stop our losing streak,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We’ve still got to go the same way we’ve prepared all year. Let’s win each pitch of every game, just be as prepared as we possibly can, and have a game plan every at-bat, every pitch we throw, just not lose sight of that. It’s important.”
Nola hit his third homer in the bottom of the second off Texas starter Adrian Sampson. Mallex Smith added a two-run single in the fourth and Kyle Seager homered leading off the eighth.
Sampson (6-7) made his first start since July 5 after three straight appearances out of the bullpen and gave up six runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“I wanted to be the guy to kind of stop the bleeding, pick up the team and get everyone right on track,” Sampson said. “That hanging curveball put up three runs. Other than that I thought I made some good pitches.”
STEALING A RUN
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the first with the help of an ambitious Rangers fan with good seats. With two outs, Hunter Pence hit a foul ball near the stands down the left field line. Seager raced over and leaned into the stands to make the catch, only to have it stolen by a young Rangers fan sitting in the first row. Later in the at-bat Pence singled to score Andrus.
The Rangers placed closer Shawn Kelley on the 10-day injured list with biceps soreness in his right arm, but Woodward said the injury appears far less severe than first believed. Kelley left Sunday’s game at Houston in the eighth after throwing several warmup pitches. An MRI showed no acute injury. Texas selected the contract of reliever Rafael Montero from Triple-A Nashville to take Kelley’s roster spot and designated for assignment outfielder Carlos Tocci to clear a 40-man roster spot.
Seattle 2B Dee Gordon left after the second inning due to a strained quad muscle and was replaced by Dylan Moore. Gordon was hit in the back of the shoulder on a pickoff attempt by Sampson, but Servais said it was the quad that caused him to pull Gordon. He finished the inning on the bases before being replaced.
Rangers: Texas is expected to call up RHP Pedro Payano to make a spot start Tuesday night, but might also use an opener. Payano has appeared in one game this season for the Rangers. He’s made 15 starts in the minors between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Nashville.
Mariners: Will start LHP Tommy Milone. Seattle was going to use an opener but decided to go with Milone from the start. He is 1-4 with a 3.95 ERA this season.