ARLINGTON -- The Rangers played brilliant defense on Friday night and starter Mike Minor was able to hold the Mariners to one run in 5 1/3 innings.
But the Rangers' offense managed just two runs, and their bullpen, after pitching brilliantly on the just completed six-game road trip, couldn't close it out. Instead, the Mariners scored four runs in the ninth inning off of relievers Keone Kela and Jake Diekman for a 6-2 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Park.
The loss came despite the Rangers playing possibly their best defensive game of the season, with diving plays by outfielder Drew Robinson, shortstop Jurickson Profar and first baseman Ronald Guzman allowing Minor to escape early trouble.
"You talk about in the big leagues of being able to play championship defense, guys showing up and making plays," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The positive tonight was the defense."
The Rangers' defense was the story of this game until everything slipped away late and Texas couldn't hold a 2-1 lead with four outs to go. Chris Martin gave up a two-out home run to Mitch Haniger in the eighth to tie the game.
"Obviously that's the challenge of this game," Banister said. "There are many aspects of the game, defense, baserunning, pitching, offense. At some point we've got to combine all aspects. To go out and play that style of defense, and get a good outing from our starter, we've got to be better in all aspects of the game."
This was the Rangers' first loss in seven games in which they led after seven innings. Rangers relievers allowed five runs in the final two innings after allowing just two runs in 17 innings on the road trip.
Kela was pitching for the first time since back-to-back outings on Saturday and Sunday in Houston. In both games he entered with the score tied and ended up getting the win. He also had not allowed a run in six appearances all season before the Mariners got to him in the ninth.
"Nothing different," Kela said. "Just one of those days, went out and gave it my best. Things happen. Be ready to come back tomorrow."
Daniel Vogelbach led off the Mariners' ninth against Kela with a scorching line drive off the wall in right. The ball was hit so hard that right fielder Ryan Rua was able to hold him to a single.
After Andrew Romine went in to pinch-run, Guillermo Heredia bunted him to second and a sharp single to left by Dee Gordon put runners at first and third. Gordon then stole second and Segura brought both runners home with a double. RBI singles by Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger finished off the rally against Diekman.
"When you have a comfort of a three-run lead, you can go out there and be aggressive as possible," Kela said. "Coming in a 2-2 game, I nitpicked a little bit trying to make the best pitch rather than making the most quality pitch I could. I take this as a learning step and keep working."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cano also brings glove: The Rangers played superb defense all game, but Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, with the score 2-2, turned a big play in the eighth for reliever Juan Nicasio. The Rangers had Rua at first base with one out when Adrian Beltre hit a one-hop smash to Cano's left. he pounced on it, pivoted and fired to second to start an inning-ending double play.
"Robby brought the leather tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He made a couple plays -- as Robby does, he always makes it look easy and those plays aren't easy."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Rangers made several outstanding defensive plays. At the top of the list was Robinson in center field, racing in and toward right to make a diving catch on Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive.
HE SAID IT
"I wouldn't say tonight was that great. I felt good, but to only go 5-plus innings, 5 1/3 is not going to cut it." -- Minor, on his outing
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Heredia had a 2-1 count leading off the third and took a pitch down and in that was called a ball. Heredia immediately started hobbling around removing his protective batting gear as if he had been hit by a pitch. Home-plate umpire Eric Cooper just stared at Heredia and didn't budge. The Mariners challenged the call and it was overturned, with Heredia awarded first base.
Bartolo Colon will make his third start for the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT Saturday against the Mariners at Globe Life Park. Colon retired the first 21 batters he faced in his last start against the Astros. He has 20 career wins against the Mariners but will be facing them for the first time since July 23, 2014. Left-hander James Paxton will pitch for the Mariners.