ARLINGTON, Texas — In the end, for the Mariners, it was well worth the wait.
Kendrys Morales and Logan Morrison delivered successive RBI singles in the eighth inning Saturday night — actually Sunday morning — that lifted the Mariners to a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.
Rain delayed the start of the game by 3 hours and 13 minutes. Texas started Nick Martinez didn’t offer the game’s first pitch until 10:18 p.m. Central time.
No matter. The Mariners are rolling.
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This makes five straight victories and boosted their record to 78-63, which gives them a 1 1/2-game lead over Detroit in battle for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
“This is how it’s supposed to be,” said third baseman Kyle Seager, whose homer erased a two-run deficit. “We know what we have here, and it’s good that we’re playing the way we are. It will be a fun last couple of weeks.”
The season ends three weeks from Sunday.
It was 2-2 when Chris Denorfia opened the eighth inning with a walk from Rangers reliever Neal Cotts (2-9). Denorfia went to third on Seager’s one-out single.
Morales and Morrison followed with RBI singles for a 4-2 lead.
Danny Farquhar (2-1) got the victory by pitching two scoreless innings before Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his 43rd save. The Mariners go for a four-game sweep in Sunday’s series finale.
“It was worth the wait for a lot of different reasons,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “A doubleheader (Sunday) for us would not have been good for us. We won, so it was a good day.”
Brad Miller had a career-high four hits, while Seager had a two-run homers in addition to two singles. Morales contributed two singles.
“Having been on a lot of losing teams, and out of the playoff race by June,” Morrison said, “it’s a lot of fun knowing you’re playing for something other than trying to boost your stats.
“We’re winning games. We’ve got three here, and we need one more.”
Mariners starter Chris Young gave up two unearned runs in five innings but threw 95 pitches and escaped several jams — the Rangers were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“We won the game,” he said. “That’s my only goal when I pitch, that we win the game. Certainly, I wasn’t very satisfied with my previous start, and I wanted to contribute to a win.”
Is that sufficient to keep Young in the rotation?
“Obviously, with him pitching well (after two poor starts),” McClendon hedged, “that makes things easier. But there are still decisions to be made. We’ll see.”
September-callup Carson Smith inherited a 2-2 tie to start the Texas sixth after the Mariners pulled even in the top of the inning on Seager’s two-run homer against Martinez.
Smith gave up two soft singles before the Mariners turned to Charlie Furbush when the lineup turned over with two on and two out. Furbush held the lead when Leonys Martin grounded into a force at second.
Phil Klein replaced Martinez to start the Mariners’ seventh. Klein worked a scoreless inning before the Mariners jumped on Cotts.
Young pitched around jams of his own making in the first three innings but couldn’t cover some shoddy defense in the Texas fourth.
Tomas Telis reached on an error by Miller, who failed to catch a low liner to short — and then double-clutched before making the throw. Ryan Rua followed with a double to left.
Telis likely would have scored anyway, but Dustin Ackley ensured the run by wildly overthrowing the relay man. Rua went to third on Luis Sardinas’ sacrifice and scored on Michael Choice’s sacrifice fly.
Both runs were unearned, and the Rangers had their first lead since last Sunday at Houston.
Ackley atoned for his poor throw with terrific sliding catch on Martin’s slicing fly near the line for the final out. Ackley later left the game because of a jammed left ankle; his status will be evaluated day to day.
The Mariners had a chance for a quick answer when Endy Chavez walked with two outs in the fifth, and Miller followed with a single through the right side. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.
Martinez held the two-run lead by retiring Austin Jackson on a fly to center.
It was a temporary reprieve.
The Mariners pulled even in the sixth when Robinson Cano lined a one-out single to right, and Seager followed with a 377-foot drive to right for a two-run homer.
It was Seager’s 23rd homer, which broke his previous best of 22 a year ago, and extended his career-best RBI count to 88. Both are club-leading figures.
“It’s good because we won,” Seager said. “It tied the game.”