- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon thinks Kendrys Morales brings a certain presence to the lineup, even if he hasn’t hit many home runs this season.

Morales launched two of Seattle’s four homers in a 7-5 win over Texas on Friday night, handing the Rangers their seventh straight loss only hours after manager Ron Washington resigned unexpectedly.

“A lot of times it’s not all black and white when it comes to what a guy does in a lineup, and he stretches out our lineup quite a bit,” McClendon said of Morales, who came in hitting .224 with four homers. “He brings respectability to our lineup. Tonight was a big night for him.”

The Mariners, who are in a tight race with Oakland and Detroit atop the AL wild-card standings, won their fourth straight after losing five of their previous seven games.

Interim Texas manager Tim Bogar took the familiar seat along the railing of the home dugout long occupied by Washington, who said in a statement that he was stepping down to devote all his time to an “off-the-field personal matter.” The Rangers wouldn’t elaborate.

Washington walked away before the end of his eighth season a day after the Rangers became the first team in the majors mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Only three years ago, Washington took Texas to consecutive World Series.

It was the debut as a big league manager for Bogar, who was in his first season as Washington’s bench coach. He was a minor league manager for five seasons.

“I don’t think fans here in this area have seen anybody in that seat for eight years,” Bogar said. “And I’ve got to do it after an icon, so it’s a little bittersweet.”

Morales went deep to right field against Scott Baker (3-4) to put the Mariners ahead 2-0 in the second inning. His sixth homer of the season was another two-run shot in the sixth.

“I haven’t gotten there as fast as I would have liked, but hopefully today is the start of something better,” Morales said through a translator.

Mike Zunino became the first Seattle catcher with 20 homers, breaking Miguel Olivo’s club record of 19 set in 2011. Brad Miller hit his 10th.

Hisashi Iwakuma (14-6) matched Felix Hernandez for the team lead in wins.

Iwakuma won his fifth decision in a row, allowing three runs with five strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings. Fernando Rodney gave up a run in the ninth but finished for his 42nd save in 45 chances.

The Rangers loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth against the Japanese right-hander, who got Elvis Andrus on a double-play grounder that scored a run and escaped the inning with another groundout to second from Tomas Telis.


Iwakuma ended up catching a line drive from Ryan Rua in a purely defensive move with the ball headed for his face in the second inning.

Iwakuma turned his head just as the ball reached his glove, with a wide-eyed look of relief. The scare came a batter after Adrian Beltre hit a sharp one-hopper that glanced off Iwakuma’s glove to second baseman Robinson Cano, who threw out Beltre at first.

“Just reaction,” Iwakuma said. “I didn’t even know the ball was in the glove.”


Mariners: RF Endy Chavez left in the fifth inning after getting cut above his left eye sliding headfirst into second base on a successful steal. His helmet appeared to cause the cut when it came off just as his head collided with the left knee of Texas SS Luis Sardinas. Chavez, who got three stitches, was not diagnosed with a concussion and was expected to be available Saturday.

Rangers: RF Alex Rios has an infection associated with the bruise on his right thumb and will be out at least a week. … There was no update from team doctors on the latest exam of Yu Darvish’s right elbow.


Mariners RHP Chris Young, a Dallas native who had his major league debut with the Rangers nine years ago, makes his second start of the season in Texas’ home park. He’s coming off the shortest start of his career after allowing five runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 6-1 loss to Oakland.

Rangers RHP Nick Martinez faces Seattle for the second time in three starts. He gave up five runs with four walks and no strikeouts in five innings of a 5-0 loss on Aug. 26.

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