Dee Gordon drove in the go-ahead run with a triple in the seventh inning, and James Paxton struck out nine to go over 200 for the season as the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 on Saturday night.
Paxton came into the day with 199 strikeouts and wasted no time becoming the sixth pitcher in team history to reach 200, striking out leadoff batter Jurickson Profar.
It was one of nine strikeouts in the game for Paxton, who allowed one run and seven hits over six innings and didn’t give up a walk.
Seattle’s ace become the first Mariners pitcher to reach the 200 strikeout mark since Felix Hernandez in 2014. He also finished the season with a career-high 160 1/3 innings pitched. He wasn’t able to equal last season’s career-high 12 wins, as the no-decision left him at 11-6.
Nick Vincent (4-4) pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the win, and Edwin Diaz earned his league-leading 57th save, tying Bobby Thigpen’s 1990 mark for second-most all time.
Paxton had three strikeouts in the first inning, but also gave up Adrian Beltre’s run-scoring double as the Rangers took a 1-0 lead.
Texas starter Adrian Sampson — who grew up in Redmond, just outside of Seattle — nearly stole the spotlight from Paxton, holding Seattle scoreless through four innings. The Mariners tied the game in the fifth on Mitch Haniger’s sacrifice fly, and then roared ahead in the seventh.
Kyle Seager led off with a double, and then Gordon hit his two-out triple to give Seattle the lead and end Sampson’s outing. Jean Segura and Robinson Cano each had RBI singles later in the inning to give the Mariners a three-run lead.
Sampson (0-3) ended up allowing three runs and seven hits, with four strikeouts and no walks.
Rangers: Trainers checked on LF Carlos Tocci in the fifth inning, after he hit the wall catching Haniger’s sacrifice fly and stayed down on the warning track in pain after the play. Tocci remained in the game. … Interim manager Don Wakamatsu said he thinks Nomar Mazara continues to be hampered by his thumb. Mazara missed nearly a month on the disabled list with a right thumb sprain, and is hitting .220 since returning on Aug. 16. “We think he’s on the right track,” Wakamatsu said. “Obviously the biggest thing over the winter is going to be evaluating that thumb and making sure he’s healthy going into spring training.”
Mariners: Gordon returned to the lineup in CF after missing three straight games with a sore toe after fouling a pitch off his foot Tuesday.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 6.40 ERA) will make his 18th start. He has taken the loss in each of his last four starts and is 1-6 in his last eight starts.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.93) will close out Seattle’s season with his third start. Elias, who has also made 19 relief appearances, has not gone longer than 3 2/3 innings in any start this season.
Source: The Associated Press