SEATTLE – Mitch Haniger and Jarred Kelenic both homered twice, J.P. Crawford singled home the winning run in the 11th inning and the Seattle Mariners closed in on their first playoff berth in 21 years by beating the Texas Rangers 10-9 Thursday night.
The Mariners moved a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay for the second of three AL wild cards and reduced their magic number to one for clinching a postseason spot.
One more win or a Baltimore loss would give Seattle its first playoff appearance since 2001, ending the longest drought in the four major North American professional sports.
“The goal is to win the World Series, it’s not just ending the drought,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We will end the drought tomorrow.”
The Mariners are 1 1/2 games behind Toronto for the top wild card, which hosts a best-of-three series beginning Oct. 7. The other two wild cards play on the road.
After a 3-7 road trip, Seattle took two of three from Texas at home for its first series win since Sept. 9-11, when the Mariners won two of three against Atlanta. That was the last time they won back-to-back games until Thursday.
Marcus Semien launched two home runs for the Rangers, and the teams combined for nine.
“We did a good job offensively to give us a chance,” Texas interim manager Tony Beasley said.
After both clubs exchanged runs in the 10th and Texas scored one in the 11th on Semien’s sacrifice fly, Seattle tied it at 9 with Luis Torrens’ pinch-hit single. Dylan Moore stole third and then Crawford hit a line drive off the glove of third baseman Josh Jung to score Moore.
“We fight,” Crawford said. “We’re not giving in. Our bullpen keeps us in the game and our offense is as clutch as it could be, especially right now.”
Chris Flexen (8-9) worked a hitless inning for the win. John King (1-4) took the loss.
Haniger belted a pair of early two-run homers, both with two outs. They were his first long balls since Aug. 25.
Kelenic hit a two-run shot in the fourth to break a 4-all tie, then added a solo shot in the sixth.
“I’m trying to help any way I can,” Kelenic said. “I said that when I first got here and say it now.”
Sam Huff, Semien and Adolis Garcia all homered in the third for Texas. Semien hit his second homer of the night in the seventh, bringing his total to 26 this season. Nathaniel Lowe followed with a solo homer to trim Seattle’s lead to 7-6.
Mariners starter Marco Gonzales allowed four runs and six hits over five innings.
Jon Gray permitted six runs and eight hits over five innings for Texas.
Rangers: SS Corey Seager missed his second game in a row due to a bruised forearm. Beasley said Seager is day-to-day and he doesn’t expect him to miss the final games of the season.
Seattle: All-Star OF Julio Rodriguez (lower back strain) resumed baseball activities. Servais said he expects the rookie to be ready once he’s eligible to come off the 10-day injured list. … Eugenio Suárez made his first start at third base since breaking his index finger Sept. 16. He returned from the 10-day injured list Tuesday.
Rangers: RHP Glenn Otto (6-9, 4.73 ERA) pitches Friday night at the Los Angeles Angels. The rookie hasn’t won since Aug. 26.
Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.29) makes his 32nd start of the season Friday night against visiting Oakland.
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