SEATTLE — A.J. Pierzynski swatted a three-run homer in the seventh inning Monday, and Travis Blackley allowed three runs in six innings as the Rangers opened a three-game series at Safeco Field with an 8-3 victory over the Mariners.
Mitch Moreland added a home run in the eighth in a win that snapped a two-game losing streak and allowed the Rangers to maintain a 2 ½-game lead over Oakland in the American League West.
The Rangers scored six times with two outs, half of them coming on Pierzynski’s 15th homer of the season. The blast came on the first pitch following an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre.
Beltre was also walked intentionally in the first inning, and he ended up scoring on a two-out two-run single by Alex Rios off Joe Saunders.
Seattle tied the game in the third on bases-loaded single by Brad Miller, but Blackley cooled the Mariners’ rally by getting Franklin Gutierrez to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Rios started the fourth with a double after a diving Gutierrez couldn’t handle the shallow flyball. Rios went to third as Mitch Moreland flied out and scored as second baseman Nick Franklin bobbled a tailor-made double-play grounder and gave Jurickson Profar just enough time to beat out the back end of the double play.
After Craig Gentry walked, Elvis Andrus singled home Profar for a 4-2 lead. Andrus had hits in his first three at-bats on his 25th birthday.
Kyle Seager brought the Mariners within a run in the bottom half with a solo homer, his fifth this year against the Rangers.
The Rangers widened the gap in the seventh, a rally that started after Gentry and Andrus were easy outs against Saunders. But Ian Kinsler doubled, and Beltre was walked with first base open.
Pierzynski, who had soft groundouts in his first three at-bats, made Seattle pay.
-- Jeff Wilson