ARLINGTON, Texas — Here’s the first cashable dividend on that deeper lineup that Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto compiled throughout the off-season.
The Mariners stormed back Wednesday afternoon for a 9-5 victory over the Texas Rangers by scoring five runs in the ninth inning against closer Shawn Tolleson.
And it started with the bottom of the lineup with two newcomers supplying key hits. OK, there was, maybe, more than a smidge of good fortune involved, too, along two more home runs from atomic-hot Robinson Cano.
"That was the bottom third of the order that got that started," third baseman Kyle Seager said. "As athletic as it is down there at the bottom and up at the top, the lineup is much longer.
"There are a lot of different ways to score runs."
The Mariners trailed 5-4 when Nori Aoki opened the inning with a pinch single against Tolleson. After Ketel Marte failed twice to execute a sacrifice bunt, he blooped a single into left field.
Leonys Martin tied the game with another bloop — a double to left for his third hit of the game. Marte stopped at third. Two bloops and the game was tied.
"We’ve got like three leadoff guys," Cano said. "We’ve got Marte, we’ve got Leonys and we’ve got Aoki even though Aoki didn’t (start) today. You’ve got a deeper lineup now."
Seager then drove a two-run single up the middle, and the Mariners led 7-5. Cano followed with his second homer of the game, and his fourth in the three-game series.
"We’re going to have to find a way to pitch to him," Texas catcher Bryan Holaday said. "I don’t know if anything is different. I’ll have to sit down and take a look and see what I can come up with."
Cano’s second blast closed the score.
The victory enabled the Mariners to win a three-game series that started Monday with a numbing 3-2 loss despite limiting the Rangers to just one hit.
Wednesday started with Cano making it three homers in three days when he unloaded on a 1-1 change-up from Texas starter Colby Lewis in the first inning. It staked lefty starter Wade Miley to a 2-0 lead.
"I’ve been taking advantage of those pitches right in the middle of the plate," Cano said. "The pitch in that last at-bat was a change-up. The one earlier was a change-up, too."
Martin’s two-out homer in the second, a low laser to right, made it 3-0, but the Rangers struck back for two runs later in the inning. Ex-Mariner Justin Ruggiano contributed an RBI double.
Miley then retired 11 in a row before trouble erupted in the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo and Ian Desmond opened the inning with singles before Prince Fielder crushed a 1-1 slider for a 437-foot homer to right.
Texas led 5-3.
The Mariners got one run back in the seventh but saved their knockout punch for the ninth.
"We do have a long lineup," manager Scott Servais said. "It’s just a matter of getting the right guys on and getting pitches to hit. It’s not going to be the same one or two guys.
"Our second baseman is really hot right now, but it’s the entire club that is producing. You have to (have that happening), to get 10 and nine runs back to back (games)."
PLAY OF THE GAME: Utilityman Luis Sardinas played left field for the first time and his first play resulted in a costly mistake.
The Rangers had a runner at first with no outs in the second inning when Rougned Odor punched a single to left. Sardinas tried for the out at third — the play wasn’t close, and the throw permitted Odor to take second.
That meant Ryan Rua’s routine grounder to first resulted in just one out instead of a double play. And Odor then scored from second on Justin Ruggiano’s one-out double.
PLUS: Reliever Nick Vincent worked a scoreless inning for the second game in a row…Ketel Marte was hitless in his first 10 at-bats before getting a bunt single in the fifth inning. He had singles in his next two at-bats…Seth Smith had a single and three walks in five plate appearances…Leonys Martin had three hits and reached base five times in nine plate appearances over the final two games.
MINUS: The Mariners ran themselves out of scoring threats in the fourth and fifth innings when Luis Sardinas and Leonys Martin were thrown out on attempted steals of second base…Joaquin Benoit walked two in the eighth inning but escaped unharmed.
STAT PACK: The Mariners had one victory last season — one — when they trailed going into the ninth inning. It, too, came against the Rangers, but it was at Safeco Field. The Mariners scored two runs in the ninth inning for an 11-10 walk-off victory.
QUOTABLE: Mariners starter Wade Miley on watching the ninth-inning comeback on a clubhouse television: "(Nori) Aoki got the first (hit), and then (Ketel Marte) blooped another in. First and second.
"I thought, `A pretty good spot in our lineup right now. This could get ugly for them.’ And it did. It was fun to watch."
SHORT HOPS: Robinson Cano is the first player in Mariners history to start the season with homers in the first three games. He is also the first to hit four homers in the season’s first three games…closer Steve Cishek worked a 10-pitch ninth inning in a non-save situation…left fielder Nori Aoki is nursing a bruised shin as a result of a foul ball in Tuesday’s game. He started the ninth-inning rally with a pinch single…the Mariners’ bullpen combined for nine scoreless innings in the three games. Texas’ bullpen gave up 14 runs in eight innings.
UP NEXT: The Mariners have an open date Thursday before starting their home schedule at 7:10 p.m. Friday with the first of three weekend games against Oakland at Safeco Field.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker (11-8 with a 4.56 ERA in 2015) will start for the Mariners. The Athletics plan to recall lefty Eric Surkamp from Triple-A Nashville to replace injured Felix Doubront.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners