ARLINGTON -- Having lost half his season to an 80-game suspension, Robinson Cano isn't going to put up his usual numbers this year. But the Mariners second baseman is finishing with a flourish as he cranked a three-run homer in Saturday's 13-0 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park
ARLINGTON -- Having lost half his season to an 80-game suspension, Robinson Cano isn't going to put up his usual numbers this year. But the Mariners second baseman is finishing with a flourish as he cranked a three-run homer in Saturday's 13-0 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park to continue his recent tear and support Marco Gonzales' six-inning gem.
The blowout win momentarily staved off playoff elimination for the Mariners, but the reprieve was brief as they were mathematically eliminated from Wild Card contention an hour later when the A's racked up another walkoff win, 3-2, over the Twins to put their record at 94-61.
Cano went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and four RBIs to hike his average to .301. The 35-year-old is 11-for-15 with five doubles, a homer and seven RBIs over his last four games, putting him at nine homers and 46 RBIs in 73 games.
"The main thing here is just winning games," Cano said. "Sometimes it's not about individual numbers. But you want to do good, for sure. You don't want to just pack it in and go home."
The 13 runs set a season high for the Mariners and the winning margin was their biggest of the year, replacing the 9-0 victory they racked up two games ago in Houston. They finished with 16 hits, one shy of their season best.
Seattle has gone 6-3 with one game remaining on its final 10-game road trip and at 85-69 has already won more games than all but eight teams in the franchise's 42-year history with eight games left. The Mariners' road record of 44-36 is tied for the fifth-most wins in franchise history, and they have a chance to move into a tie for third with a victory in Sunday's series finale.
Cano's fifth-inning homer broke a scoreless tie and made a winner of Gonzales, who allowed just one hit over six frames with one walk and three strikeouts. The 26-year-old improved his team-leading win total to 13 with his first victory since July 29, as he's now 13-9 with a 4.12 ERA with potentially one remaining start.
Gonzales had gone 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA over his last six starts, though he's been much better his last three outings since returning from a two-week disabled list stint to allow a strained neck muscle to heal.
"I've felt great in the past two starts, but tonight, I finally felt like I executed to my standards of what I think I can do," Gonzales said. "I was really encouraged. The first batter [a leadoff walk] didn't go like I wanted, but I felt on my game after that."
Manager Scott Servais said he didn't know if Gonzales would make another start or not but certainly was pleased with what the youngster has accomplished in reaching a career-high 28 starts and 161 2/3 innings, saying it looks like he's got more left in the tank.
"Awesome job by Marco," Servais said. "He's had a heck of a season. It's been a complete year for him and it's nice to see him end this way. It's important to end on a positive note. You're going to have some rough stretches when you get out there and make 28-30 starts in this league. But I'm really happy for him to come back strong like he has."
With James Paxton scheduled to rejoin the rotation on Monday and Felix Hernandez aiming for a Wednesday return, the Mariners can start shutting down some of their starters soon. But Gonzales wants to finish what he started.
"I'm a competitor. I want to go out there and pitch," Gonzales said. "If I get one more, that would be great. I want to go out there and compete."
The Mariners broke things open late as Mike Zunino added a solo homer in the sixth, his 20th of the season, and Dee Gordon added a two-run shot in the eighth off Bartolo Colon. Mitch Haniger extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two doubles in a 3-for-5 night, while Nelson Cruz regained his team-lead in RBIs at 92 by going 2-for-4 and driving in a pair of runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After being stymied for six innings by Gonzales, the Rangers rallied against reliever Nick Vincent to load the bases with one out in the seventh with a walk by Nomar Mazara and singles by Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor. But Vincent induced a 6-4-3 double play grounder by Isiah Kiner-Falefa to escape that jam and preserve a 5-0 lead, which loomed large before the Mariners teed off on Texas' bullpen.
Haniger hiked his season total in doubles to 37, to go with 26 homers and 91 RBIs. The only other Mariner outfielder to combine 35-plus doubles, 25-plus homers and 90-plus RBIs? That would be one Ken Griffey Jr. (in 1992 and '93).
Gonzalez's 13 victories are the most by a Mariners lefty since Jason Vargas won 14 games in 2012.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kyle Seager isn't known for his speed and Gordon isn't known for his power. But Seager recorded his first triple of the year with a 102-mph line drive through the shift in right field, the ball clearing second baseman Odor and handcuffing right fielder Mazara before rolling to the wall. Gordon then followed with a drive over the fence in right, projected at 386 feet by Statcast™, for his third homer of the year and 14th of his eight-year MLB career.
"I don't know how Seager top-spinned that ball right between those guys," Servais said. "He beat the shift. It doesn't happen often for him, but he did. And Dee has been swinging the bat pretty good without a whole lot to show for it. He said, 'Screw it, they can't catch this one if I hit it over the fence.' I'm happy for him. I know it's been a bit of a frustrating year for him offensively. A lot of good, positive things tonight."
HE SAID IT
"I've been working with my hitting coach and getting here early, really working to stay back and use the whole field. It's been working. I'm not chasing pitches, just looking for pitches I can drive and ones I can hit." -- Cano, who has hit .455 (15-for-33) with 12 RBIs over the first nine games of the Mariners' road trip
Wade LeBlanc (8-4, 3.49 ERA) starts the Mariners' final road game of the season as they take on Rangers lefty Martin Perez (2-6, 6.33) in the 12:05 p.m. PT series finale from Globe Life Park on Sunday. Despite a career-high 152 innings pitched, LeBlanc is finishing strong as the 34-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA over his past five outings. He's 1-0, 1.59 ERA in two starts vs. Texas this season.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.