SEATTLE —A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer, Mitch Moreland had a solo shot and the Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 8-3 on Monday night.
Alex Rios had two hits and two RBI as the Rangers picked up their sixth win in eight games. Elvis Andrus celebrated his 25th birthday with three hits and an RBI for Texas.
Kyle Seager hit his 20th home run of the season for Seattle, which has lost four in a row.
Former Mariners pitcher Travis Blackley (2-1) earned his first win since being acquired by the Rangers in a trade with Houston on Aug. 14. Blackley, making his second start of the season,
allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in his longest outing since Oct. 2, 2012.
Mariners starter Joe Saunders (10-13) struggled at Safeco Field, allowing nine hits, seven runs and three walks with no strikeouts in seven innings.
Seattle made a roster move just before batting practice in activating outfielder Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list and designating pitcher Aaron Harang for assignment.
With the Mariners facing three left-handed starting pitchers in three days, Mariners manager Eric Wedge wanted an extra right-handed bat available.
Gutierrez was in the clubhouse stretching and was in Monday’s starting lineup batting third and playing right field.
“It feels good to be back again,” Gutierrez said. “It’s been a long time. I’m really happy I’m coming back to help my team.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s basically the same thing he said the previous two times he returned to the Mariners after injury absences.
Gutierrez was placed on the disabled list twice this season – with a strained right hamstring from May 16-June 2 and June 24 until Monday. His time on the disabled list included four rehabilitation assignments to Triple A-Tacoma. He has played more rehab games with the Rainiers (47) than major league games with the Mariners (18).
So what makes this time different? Is there reason to think he will stay any healthier this time? The Mariners hope this return lasts longer than the 48 hours it took for him to get hurt the last time he came off the disabled list.
Gutierrez thinks this time around could be different because it’s been almost three months since he was diagnosed with a genetic disease that causes a person to develop arthritis in the back. He has been taking medication to fight it.
“This thing started in spring training and they didn’t know what it is,” he said. “It’s tough to play like that. Not many people know about this, but I’ve been dealing with this the whole year.”
It made playing on a daily basis difficult.
“Feeling that inflammation in the pelvis and lower back and try to run like that, it’s not easy,” he said. “Right now, I feel like it’s under control. I’ve got three months with the medicine. The healing process has been slow, but good. I’m feeling much better. I don’t have as much pain.”
Gutierrez isn’t sure that he can play every day now. He didn’t on his latest rehab stint with Tacoma.
“I’ve been playing two days in a row and then have a day off,” he said. “I’ve been playing like that and I’ve been feeling much better that way than playing every day. ”
It’s unlikely that Wedge will even consider playing him daily.
“Like I told him today, ‘We’ll communicate every day with regard to how you are feeling and just how much we’ll be able to play and we’ll go from there,’” Wedge said.
With Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Endy Chavez, Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse on the roster, Wedge isn’t held hostage by Gutierrez’s health.
“We’ve got enough options out there right now,” Wedge said. “It’s a bit of a traffic jam. We’ll continue to put our best line-up out there.”
Harang, 35, started 22 games his season, compiling a 5-11 record with a 5.76 ERA. In 120 innings pitched, he allowed 77 earned runs on 133 hits.
“I had some inconsistencies that I have to work on,” Harang said. “I know I can still pitch at this level. I’m not worried about that part. It’s just making sure I figure out the little things and make those adjustments. I will get my stuff together, head home, keep working out and hopefully hook on with somebody soon.”
Seattle now has 10 days to trade, release or outright the contract of Harang to the minors.
The series continues at Safeco Field on Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., with Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98 ERA) opposing Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95 ERA). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.Staff writer Ryan Divish contributed to this report.
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