Seattle Mariners' pitcher Felix Hernandez points to home plate. File photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo
SEATTLE -- Mitch Haniger's go-ahead home run in the seventh inning was changed to a go-ahead single, but that was enough to give the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday on a night when veteran Felix Hernandez was back at the top of his game.
Seattle's Haniger drove in the game-winner despite an overturned call that took away a three-run homer in the seventh. With runners on first and third, Haniger hit a towering fly ball toward the left-field fence. The ball bounced off the top of the wall and was initially ruled a three-run homer. A replay challenge resulted in that call being overturned, but the run from third base scored on what became an RBI single, which gave Seattle (3-8) a 2-1 lead.
That was enough for Hernandez, who allowed just one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings to earn his first win of the season. Hernandez (1-1) struck out three without issuing a walk before the Seattle bullpen took over in the eighth. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski got the final two outs of the eighth before Mariners closer Edwin Diaz came on and earned his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
The Rangers threatened in the ninth, after Diaz struck out the first two batters he faced. Shortstop Elvis Andrus singled to left on a 1-2 count and moved to third base on a stolen base and wild pitch, but he was stranded there when Jonathan Lucroy grounded out to third base to end the game.
Haniger went 2-for-4 despite having what would have been his third home run of the season taken away. Teammate Nelson Cruz added a solo home run, his first of the season.
Leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez had a pair of hits for Texas (4-6).
Cruz's homer gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Cruz hit a 3-2 pitch from Texas starter Martin Perez over the center-field fence for a two-out blast.
Hernandez retired the first seven Texas hitters to open the game before Joey Gallo provided the first Rangers hit with a one-out double into the left-center-field gap in the third. Hernandez threw five scoreless innings to open the game.
The Rangers' Perez was nearly as good over three shutout innings, thanks in part to double plays in the first and second innings. He had Texas in a scoreless tie until the Cruz homer. Seattle loaded the bases after that but could not capitalize, as catcher Mike Zunino struck out to end the threat.
NOTES: The Rangers decided not to place RHP Matt Bush on the 10-day disabled list, even though he has been out since Monday, when he strained an AC joint in his pitching arm. Manager Jeff Banister told reporters before Friday's game that Bush received a cortisone injection and that the team is hoping to get him back in action by the weekend. ... Before Friday's game, the Mariners optioned LHP Dillon Overton to Triple-A Tacoma and activated RHP Tony Zych off the 10-day disabled list. Zych, 26, is coming off October transfer surgery on his right biceps tendon. He pitched in 12 games with the Mariners last season before suffering the season-ending surgery. ... Seattle also made a move of lesser significance, trading LHP Paul Fry, a minor-leaguer, to Baltimore for the Orioles' No. 105 International Signing Slot. ... Texas has still yet to name an official starter for Saturday's game, but Banister said RHP Andrew Cashner, who is currently on the DL, is the frontrunner. ... The Mariners unveiled a Ken Griffey Jr. statue in front of Safeco Field on Thursday and handed out 45,000 mini-replicas to commemorate the occasion Friday.