Mariners' Paxton gets scoreless streak to 21 IP, beats Texas

With a new approach, Felix Hernandez is back to his old self.

Hernandez threw 7 1/3 quality innings, while Haniger provided the game-winning hit on what was originally ruled a home run but was later changed to an RBI single in the Mariners' 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

This was the new-look King. That said, the M's are 4-1 in Paxton's last five starts against an opponent with a losing record, although they're just 3-9 in his last 12 home starts. "Very efficient with his pitches". Manager Jeff Banister told reporters before Friday's game that Bush received a cortisone injection and that the team is hoping to get him back in action by the weekend. "That was a big run to keep off the board, and it kind of got our boys going".

Paxton struck out nine Rangers over eight shutout innings and has now gone 21 innings to begin the season without allowing a run. In his last start, against the Angels, he gave up one run on two hits in six innings.

Hernandez, the Mariners' long-time ace, has not walked a batter in 18 1/3 innings over his three starts.

"I'm just making good pitches", Paxton said. "That's good for me". I love what he's been doing the last couple nights.

With runners on first and third in the bottom of the seventh inning, Haniger hit a towering fly ball toward the left-field fence. Gallo advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded when Gomez popped up a bunt to end the inning. Haniger followed with a drive that appeared to clear the left-field wall for a three-run homer, before bouncing back into the field of play. "We feel like he's healthy, we feel like he's ready", manager Jeff Banister said. "So I threw fastballs and got them out".

"I think it was handled properly", he said.

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"You could clearly see (in replays) that it hit the top of the wall and stayed in the ballpark", Banister said.

Paxton finished last season strong after pitching inconsistently early in his career.

Seattle then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but starter Martin Perez escaped by striking out Mike Zunino. Nomar Mazara followed with an RBI single up the middle. Mariners shortstop Taylor Motter is at rear. "One of the things I could do better is get ahead later in the game. They didn't swing at the changeup as much as he likes". Teammate Nelson Cruz added a solo home run, his first of the season. "I've got the power stuff and I need to be aggressive and go after guys". Jonathan Lucroy had a one-out flare single in the eighth. Dyson then stole second on a close play; Texas challenged, but the call was confirmed.

RHP Tony Zych was activated off the 10-day DL and returned Wednesday from his rehab assignment at Triple A Tacoma and LHP Dillon Overton was optioned down. Zych, 26, is coming off October transfer surgery on his right biceps tendon.

"The first one's important, especially to get the lead", he said. The Mariners will hand the ball to Felix Hernandez tonight as they look to right the ship. He hasn't allowed a run yet in three starts this year, and his scoreless stretch is a team record to open a season. The Rangers have also dropped 11 of their last 15 games overall and are 1-6 in their last seven games after facing a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.

NOTES: The Rangers activated RHP Andrew Cashner from the 10-day disabled list before the game.

"I felt like it was a solid outing", Banister said.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson). Seattle Mariners' Kyle Seager watches a two-run single against the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Seattle. Hernandez (1-1) struck out three without issuing a walk before the Seattle bullpen took over in the eighth.

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