Mariners eliminated from race despite 13-0 rout of Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marco Gonzales has himself in position for an upbeat finish to easily the best season of his career.
Now the Seattle left-hander knows for sure his final start, if he gets another one, won’t have any impact on the postseason.
Robinson Cano broke a scoreless tie with a three-run homer in the fifth inning while Gonzales allowed one hit in six innings, but the Mariners were eliminated from the AL wild-card race despite a 13-0 trouncing of the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
The longest playoff drought among the four major pro sports was extended to 17 years when Oakland finished off Seattle’s fading hopes with a 3-2 win against Minnesota, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth about an hour after the Mariners’ victory.
Seattle inherited the longest postseason absence last December when the Buffalo Bills ended a 17-year drought by making the NFL playoffs.
Gonzales (13-9) faced one batter over the minimum while allowing his fewest hits in 42 career starts for his first win since July 29. The left-hander walked one and got a double play grounder from Jurickson Profar right after allowing a single to Delino DeShields.
The 26-year-old Gonzales allowed two hits twice this season, both times over seven innings. He had five major league wins before this breakthrough year.
“At this point, I’m just trying to focus on recovery and trying to bounce back from every start and just trying to keep everything the same,” Gonzales said. “Just trying to find that beginning/middle season rhythm. That’s kind of the goal as we get towards the end here.”
Manager Scott Servais wouldn’t commit to one more start for Gonzales, who has made 28 after a career-high eight last year — one for St. Louis and seven for the Mariners following a trade.
“It certainly looks like he’s got plenty left in the tank,” Servais said. “He does want to finish it off.”
Mike Zunino connected for his 20th homer , a solo shot in the sixth as the Mariners topped their previous season high of 12 runs. Cano, who added an RBI double and had three hits, has nine homers — five since returning from an 80-game drug suspension Aug. 14.
Dee Gordon connected for his third homer, a two-run shot in the eighth off Bartolo Colon in the 45-year-old’s fourth relief appearance to go with 24 starts. Mitch Haniger extended his hitting streak to 11 games with three hits and scored three runs.
Mike Minor (12-8) allowed six hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts for the last-place Rangers, who matched their largest losing margin of the season in their 11th loss in 15 games.
“What hurt him more than anything was just the pitch count,” interim manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He made the one mistake to Cano and that cost him. He pitched out of some jams, but it was some really good fastballs, elevated fastballs.”
The eight-time All-Star is 11 of 15 on a four-game hitting streak. His four RBIs were a season high.
DRAB DAYS INDEED
The Rangers were shut out for the third time in five games on their final homestand, a day after manager Jeff Banister was fired and replaced by Wakamatsu. The 13-run margin matched a 16-3 loss to Cleveland on July 21.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton, who is battling pneumonia and flu, threw a bullpen session. Manager Scott Servais said Paxton is hoping to start Monday at home against Oakland. The Mariners finish the season with seven games in Seattle.
Mariners LHP Wade LeBlanc (8-4, 3.49 ERA) opposes fellow lefty Martin Perez (2-6, 6.33) in the Rangers’ home finale. LeBlanc is 38-39 in his 10-year career. Perez is making his first start since getting demoted to the bullpen Aug. 29. He had a 2.45 ERA in six relief appearances after the move. Perez’s past three outings were scoreless.