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May 26, 2013

Mariners 4, Rangers 3 (F, 13)

SEATTLE — Jurickson Profar swatted a leadoff homer Sunday, but Raul Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 11th and Jason Bay had an RBI single with two outs in the 13th as Seattle turned back the Rangers 4-3 and avoided a three-game sweep.

The Rangers had taken a 3-2 lead in the 11th inning on a pinch-hit single by A.J. Pierzynski to score Elvis Andrus. But Ibanez hit the first pitch from Joe Nathan in the bottom half into the right-field seats.

Seattle just missed winning it three batters later when Bay lifted a deep flyball to left-center field that David Murphy jumped to catch at the top of the wall.

It was the first blown save for Nathan after converting on 16 straight chances to open the season.

The Rangers went quietly in their half of the 12th before Jason Frasor walked Jesus Sucre and allowed a bunt hit to Brendan Ryan with one out in the 12th.

Michael Kirkman entered to face Chavez and Seager in a matchup of lefties. Chavez bounced into a fielder’s choice as Sucre moved to third, and Seager rolled a grounder to first as the Rangers escaped yet again.

The Mariners pulled an escape act in the 13th, as Yoervis Medina stranded the go-ahead run at third base by striking out Profar and getting Murphy to ground out to second base.

Ibanez flied out to start the 13th, but Morales laced a one-out double to right-center to chase Kirkman and bring Ross Wolf in to match up with Carlos Truinfel and Bay, both right-handed hitters.

Wolf got Truinfel on a tapper back to the mound, but Bay sent a broken-bat floater over Andrus’ head on the first pitch he saw to end the game.

Mariners pitchers had retired 11 straight batters before Andrus opened the 11th with a broken-bat pinch-hit single off Carter Capps and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Leonys Martin.

Pierzynski hit for Leury Garcia, but Seattle countered with Oliver Perez for a lefty-lefty matchup. Pierzynski punched the first pitch into left field, and Andrus raced home to break the tie.

Nick Tepesch allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, with both coming on a Kendrys Morales homer in the sixth that forged a 2-2 tie. Tepesch was starting for the first time since May 17 after being pushing back five days because of a blister.

He retired the first nine he faced, including three by strikeout, before Endy Chavez started the fourth with a clean single through the middle. Morales added a two-out single, but Michael Morse struck out to end the Mariners’ threat.

Tepesch then quickly retired the first two Seattle hitters in the fifth before suddenly losing his command. He threw six straight balls and allowed a single to Brendan Ryan before escaping on a Chavez pop out.

But Tepesch wouldn’t escape the sixth, which Kyle Seager started with a double to right field. After Raul Ibanez grounded out, Morales’ no-doubter tied the game with his sixth homer of the season.

Cotts cooled off the Mariners over the next 2 1/3 innings, pitching around a leadoff single in the eighth, and Robbie Ross got two outs in the 10th with pinch-runner Triunfel at second base.

-- Jeff Wilson

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