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By JIM HOEHN
SEATTLE (AP) – The Seattle Mariners are finding out just like everybody else: Dae-Ho Lee can catch up to a big league fastball.
Lee hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer with two outs in the 10th inning on Wednesday, lifting the Mariners over the Texas Rangers 4-2 for their first win of the year at Safeco Field.
After starting 0-5 at home, the Mariners won on Lee’s second home run of the season. Robinson Cano hit his fifth homer for Seattle.
The right-handed hitting Lee, who spent the last four years in Japan after 11 seasons in his native South Korea, came on to bat for Adam Lind against left-hander Jake Diekman (0-1). Lee launched an 0-2, 97 mph fastball deep over the left field wall for his second homer.
“For him, when we first got to spring training, how was he going to handle the velocity? There were concerns there,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The thing that we kept seeing was he is able to make adjustments. He cuts down the leg kick, he cuts down his swing to make contact, and he’s plenty strong enough that if he does square it up, he’s got enough power.”
“I watched a lot of video before the game, but it makes a difference when you’ve faced him before,” Lee said through an interpreter. “Two strikes, I knew it was going to be a fastball. I just put in contact on the middle of my bat.”
Diekman said he put the ball in the perfect spot for Lee, who became the first Mariners rookie to hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run.
“That pitch needed to be much better. Yeah, that was terrible. Put it right where he could hit it,” said Diekman, who had not allowed a run in his first five appearances. “It’s our job to come in and get zeros.”
Closer Steve Cishek (1-1) retired six consecutive for the two-inning victory, his first since July 1 of last season with Miami.
“Really great effort by our club today,” Servais said. “Exciting game. We really, really needed it.”
Delino DeShields brought the Rangers even at 2 in the eighth with a solo homer, his first.
Cano put Texas in front 2-1 in the fifth with a solo shot, his first home run since April 5. He had been in a 2-for-21 slump before connecting.
The Rangers manufactured a run in the third with the aid of two contested calls. DeShields beat out a deep throw from Seager at third for an infield single. The Mariners challenged, but the on-field call was upheld after a review of nearly 4 minutes.
Nomar Mazara bounced into an apparent 4-6-3 double play, but DeShields was called safe at second because shortstop Ketel Marte missed the bag on the relay. DeShields then came around on Adrian Beltre‘s two-out single.
Although neither was around at the finish, both starters pitched effectively. A.J. Griffin making his second start for Texas after missing two seasons following Tommy John surgery, allowed two runs – one earned – on three hits and four walks in five innings. Seattle’s Taijuan Walker allowed one run on five hits, striking out four and walking two.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish, on the 60-day disabled list following Tommy John surgery, threw his first live batting practice session on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas. Darvish threw 30 pitches, 15 in each of two innings, against two members of Double-A Frisco.
Mariners: Prior to the game, Servais was unsure of the availability of LHP Joaquin Benoit, who had been day to day with shoulder stiffness since his last outing April 8. With an off day Thursday, Benoit was not used. “The report today, he felt very good,” Servais said. “He threw. Fully expect him, fingers crossed, he’ll be available Friday night in New York.”
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out in the sixth, Lind mishandled Beltre’s bouncer to first but recovered in time to flip to Walker covering for the out. The call was overturned after a review of about 35 seconds and Lind was charged with an error. … With two outs in the ninth, Odor was called out at first on a chopper to second. The call was upheld after a review of approximately 2 1/2 minutes.
Rangers: Texas returns home for seven games after seven games on the road. LHP Cole Hamels (2-0, 2.08 ERA) makes his third start Thursday to open a four-game series against Baltimore. He has allowed three runs in 13 innings, striking out 12.
Mariners: After a day off Thursday, the Mariners open a nine-game trip with three against the Yankees in New York. RHP Nathan Karns (0-1, 7.20 ERA) makes his second start.
Mariners: After an off-day Thursday, the Mariners open a nine-game road trip with three games against the Yankees in New York. RHP Nathan Karns (0-1, 7.20 ERA) makes his second start.
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