ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit consecutive pitches deep into the left-field seats at his former home. The first one was called foul. There was no question about the next swing.
Cruz hit the first of Seattle’s three home runs, his 100th at the Rangers ballpark, and the Mariners went on to a 9-7 victory Saturday night.
“He didn’t miss that pitch again. He didn’t miss it the first time,” said Mitch Haniger, who also went deep for the Mariners. “Just shows you how good of a hitter he is, to stay composed and do it again on the next swing.”
After a towering drive over the left-field foul pole that was ruled foul, and stood after an 80-second replay review by umpires, Cruz hit the next pitch an estimated 453 feet. The two-run shot off 44-year-old Bartolo Colon was his fourth homer in his 10 games this season.
“You don’t often see that on back-to-back pitches,” manager Scott Servais said. “The first one was so close to being out, but there was no doubt on the second one.”
Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh to make it 8-6 and cap a four-run outburst against Alex Claudio (0-1), who gave up hits to all four batters he faced. Haniger hit a solo shot later in the inning off another reliever.
Chasen Bradford (2-0) pitched two innings in relief of Seattle starter James Paxton, who struck out six but gave up five runs in four innings. Edwin Diaz got the final four outs for his AL-leading eighth save even while walking three batters and giving up a run in the ninth.
Seattle’s comeback spoiled Colon’s bid for his first win with the Rangers, and 21st in his career against the Mariners. Colon, who covered first base for the first two outs in the fifth, exited after 5 2/3 innings with a 5-4 lead.
“He threw the ball well. I think covering first base a couple of times took its toll. Not condition-wise, but the legs,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We’d seen the ball starting to rise a little bit on him, not as much sink, and decided to make the move.”
Colon retired the first 21 batters at Houston in his previous start six nights earlier. He never flirted with perfection against the Mariners after Dee Gordon singled to lead off the game after the start was delayed 1 hour, 25 minutes because of rain and ended one minute before midnight.
But the speedy Gordon was retired on a 3-1 putout in the fifth, a batter after Colon also covered first base to get out Ben Gamel.
“He’s a marvel what he’s doing at his age and still very, very competitive in this league,” Servais said. “He knows how to pitch, and he knows how to cover first base.”
LOT OF LOSSES
Texas, which lost the opener of the three-game set 6-2 Friday after giving up a four-run ninth, has lost its first four home series. The Rangers are 2-10 at home, including six straight losses.
Of the 100 homers Cruz has hit at the Rangers ballpark, 92 came when he played for Texas from 2006-13. He hit one with Baltimore, and seven with the Mariners. He is only the seventh player with at least 100 homers in the stadium that is in its 25th season and will be replaced in two years.
Mariners: INF Ryon Healy (sprained right ankle) did some early work Saturday during his rehab at Double-A Arkansas after homering in Friday night’s game. He could be back with the Mariners within a few days.
Rangers: CF Delino DeShields was the DH for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night to get some more at-bats. Banister said DeShields, out since March 31, still has some soreness in his left hand since having a broken hamate bone removed.
FIRST TIME CAUGHT
Gordon had stolen an MLB-best nine bases without getting caught until he was thrown out trying to steal in the first after his leadoff single. That was also the first time a Rangers catcher had thrown out an attempted base stealer this season.
Seattle is expected to activate Erasmo Ramirez from the 10-day disabled list (strained right lat) for his season debut in the series finale. Marin Perez (1-2, 13.14 ERA), who has allowed at least nine hits in all three of his starts, takes the mound for the Rangers.