SEATTLE — Leonys Martin hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high four runs Wednesday, and the Rangers rocked Felix Hernandez for nine runs in three-plus innings en route to a 12-4 rout and a three-game sweep of Seattle.
The win ensures that the Rangers will have at least a 2 ½-game lead in the American League West over Oakland. The margin would jump to 3 ½ games if the A’s were to lose later Wednesday at Detroit.
Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland added homers off Brandon Maurer. Beltre’s blast came on Maurer’s second pitch, and Moreland’s shot to start the seventh gave him the first 20-homer season of his career.
Martin Perez allowed two runs in six innings to earn his eighth victory, which leads all American League rookies. He won for the fifth time in August, tops in the AL, and beat his boyhood idle, Hernandez, for the second time in 12 days.
Hernandez escaped the first inning despite allowing singles to Ian Kinsler and Beltre, but he couldn’t get out of the second. Martin got him with two outs on a long drive to left-center field for a 3-0 lead.
Soto delivered the big two-out hit in the third after Moreland had struck out with runners at second and third. Soto, playing for the second time on the road trip, hit a liner to left field that Raul Ibanez short-hopped to allow Kinsler and Alex Rios to score.
The Rangers started the fourth with four straight hits, a double by Jurickson Profar, an RBI single by Martin, an RBI double by Elvis Andrus and an RBI single by Kinsler.
Hernandez was done, but the Rangers weren’t. Beltre launched the second pitch from Brandon Maurer into the Rangers’ bullpen for a 10-0 lead, nine of which were charged to the 2010 American League Cy Young winner.
The Rangers had no problem with Hernandez this season. He went 0-5 in five starts with a 7.57 ERA (23 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings), and his 20 career losses to the Rangers are the most of any pitcher all time.
Eight of the nine Rangers starters had a hit, and eight of the nine scored a run. Andrus and Beltre had three hits apiece, and Martin was one of five with two hits each.
Perez didn’t allow a hit until Kyle Seager singled with one out in the fourth. The Mariners got four more hits against Perez, including solo homers by Dustin Ackley and Seager, but he coasted to his eighth victory since June 22.
-- Jeff Wilson