Dae-Ho Lee's two homers power Seattle Mariners past Texas Rangers

By Scott Johnson, The Sports Xchange   |   June 11, 2016 at 2:17 AM
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SEATTLE -- The power-hitting Seattle Mariners didn't need any good-luck charms going into Friday night's series opener with the division-leading Texas Rangers, but rookie first baseman Dae-Ho Lee brought one anyway.

The Korean slugger sported a new necklace, designed to improve blood circulation, then he became the latest Mariners player to hit two home runs in a game as Seattle held off the Rangers 7-5 on Friday night.

"After he hit two home runs, I think everybody on our team is going to wear one (Saturday)," teammate Kyle Seager joked.

The second-place Mariners (34-27) pulled to within three games of the American League West-leading Rangers (37-24).

Seattle overcame a two-home-run night from Mitch Moreland, who was one of one of three Rangers to hit solo shots in the game. Ian Desmond and Ryan Rua also went deep for Texas.

Lee's multi-homer night was the fourth in a row by the Mariners, with four different players contributing to the unprecedented streak. Nelson Cruz (Tuesday), Chris Iannetta (Wednesday), Robinson Cano (Thursday) and Lee became the first four different teammates to hit multiple homers in a game on four consecutive days. The only other time a single team has had four players do it in four consecutive games came when the Detroit Tigers did it over the 1985 and 1986 seasons.

"I wasn't really aware of anything like that," Lee said through an interpreter when asked about his place in history. "It feels good to be a part of history. I just try to make contact."

Seattle beat the Rangers for only the second time in seven meetings this season. Texas swept the Mariners in a three-game series last weekend.

Home runs by Lee and Seager led the Mariners to a 5-1 lead before Rua and Moreland went deep in the seventh to pull the Rangers within 5-3. Desmond's RBI double in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-4.

Seattle closer Steve Cishek came on with two outs in the eighth inning, getting the final out before the Mariners tacked on two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Seattle took a 6-4 lead when Rua committed a throwing error from left field, then Kyle Seager came in from third on a Seth Smith sacrifice fly for a 7-4 advantage.

Cishek gave up a two-out solo homer to Moreland in the ninth but then struck out Robinson Chirinos to earn his 14th save in 17 opportunities this season.

"The two home runs there in the four-run inning were a challenge for us, but still our guys clipped back into it," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "That was nice to see."

Both starting pitchers surrendered three home runs in the game.

Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who was facing Texas for the second time in less than a week, allowed three runs off seven hits over seven innings. Iwakuma (5-5) struck out three and walked one.

"We had to get them back for the three games we had in Texas," Iwakuma said, "so I was glad to get the win tonight."

Texas starter Derek Holland also gave up three home runs in his five innings and left the mound with the Rangers trailing 5-1. Holland (5-5) allowed five runs off five hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.

The only two previous times in league history when a team had players hit multi-homers in four straight games in one season came in 1998 (Cubs) and 2000 (Indians). Chicago's Sammy Sosa did it twice the four-game span in 1998, while Cleveland's Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez both did it twice in 2000, leaving the 2016 Mariners as the only team to have four different players achieve the feat.

Lee's second home run, a three-run shot in the fourth, broke a 1-1 tie before teammate Kyle Seager followed with a solo shot for a 5-1 Seattle lead. It marked the first time this season that the Mariners have had back-to-back home runs in a game.

Lee's first homer, a solo shot in the second inning, put Seattle ahead 1-0. The Rangers' Ian Desmond tied the score 1-1 with a solo homer in the third inning. It was Desmond's ninth home run of the season, all of them coming since April 21.

Lee's two home runs gave him 10 for the season.

NOTES: Seattle activated CF Leonys Martin (hamstring) from the 15-day disabled list before Friday's game. To make room for Martin, a former Ranger, the Mariners optioned INF Luis Sardinas to Triple-A Tacoma. ... Texas 3B Adrian Beltre (hamstring) was not in Friday's lineup. He is listed as day-to-day. 2B Jurickson Profar started at third base for the second day in a row. ... Rangers C Robinson Chirinos (broken forearm), who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Thursday, was back in the lineup for the first time since April 9. ... Heading into the series, Texas held a 5-1 record in head-to-head matchups with the Mariners this season. The Rangers swept Seattle in a three-game series in Texas last weekend.

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