SEATTLE — Ian Kinsler did everything he could to lead the Texas Rangers to another win. At the biggest moment of the game, all he had to do was stroll home.
Kinsler scored the go-ahead run on Danny Farquar’s balk in the 10th inning, handing Texas a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
“Anytime you win a hard-fought game it adds to the confidence of your club and adds to the toughness of your club,” Kinsler said.
Kinsler started the winning rally with one-out single against Farquar (0-2) for his fourth hit. He advanced on Adrian Beltre’s single, and then swiped third. After A.J. Pierzynski fouled out, home plate umpire CB Bucknor called a balk on Farquar with Alex Rios at the plate, allowing Kinsler to come home.
“It was a balk. Very minor, but it was a balk,” Farquar said. “I had to go back and look at the video to see it, because at the time I had no idea. It was the slightest flinch.”
Texas manager Ron Washington gave Kinsler credit for noticing Farquar was using a high leg kick and then stealing third to be in position to score on the balk — a violation which Washington didn’t notice.
“I just saw CB yelling balk, and started smiling,” Washington said.
Tanner Scheppers (6-2) wiggled out of a jam in the ninth to get the win and Joe Nathan finished for his 38th save in 40 chances as the AL West-leading Rangers won for the sixth time in eight games.
“Scheppers was dynamic tonight,” Washington said. “He just overpowered them, and we certainly needed that right there.”
A day after coming off the disabled list, Franklin Gutierrez homered for the first time since June 22 for Seattle, which has lost five straight.
All the runs prior to the odd 10th inning came when both starters ran into trouble early before setting down, turning a tie game over to the bullpens after six innings.
Texas starter Derek Holland allowed three runs and six hits, walked four and struck out five. The left-hander is unbeaten in his last six starts, with five no-decisions in that stretch.
Holland walked two of his first three batters, setting up Kendrys Morales’ run-scoring double and Justin Smoak’s sacrifice fly.
Holland credited Kinsler for coming over in the dugout after the first inning and helping get him back on track.
“Saying a few things to me to get me back in my groove and calm me down,” Holland said. “I got a little frustrated, let my emotions eat me up a little bit but after that I felt like I settled down and got stronger as the game went on.”
Mariners starter Hishashi Iwakuma struck out the side in the first but ran into trouble of his own in the second, allowing three runs on four hits, including RBI singles by Mitch Moreland, David Murphy and Elvis Andrus.
Iwakuma needed 55 pitches to get through those first two innings but cruised through his last four, only allowing a pair of singles after the second. The Japanese right-hander yielded seven hits, struck out seven and walked one.
Gutierrez tied it at 3 with a leadoff drive to center in the third. Gutierrez, who missed much of the season with hamstring issues, has six home runs in 69 at bats.
The Mariners looked ready to close out the game in the ninth, but were unable to score after a promising start to the inning.
Michael Saunders led off with a single, and Dustin Ackley followed with a bunt. The ball popped off his bat to the pitcher’s mound, but reliever Neal Cotts had rushed in and the ball went over his head, giving Ackley a single.
Scheppers then came in and escaped the threat. Humberto Quintero also popped up his bunt, which was caught this time by first baseman Moreland. Pinch hitter Nick Franklin and second baseman Brad Miller struck out to send the game to extra innings.
“My job is just to go out there and minimize the damage,” Scheppers said. “You’ve just got to go out there and do the job.”
NOTES: Seattle C Mike Zunino, who has been on the disabled list since July 26 with a broken bone in his left wrist, started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. “He’ll be down there the rest of the week and we’ll see where we’re at,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ... The Mariners closed the clubhouse before the game for a team meeting. “I just wanted to talk to them,” Wedge said. “What I’m seeing is not what we’re about. Not that they’re playing bad baseball, they haven’t, but we just haven’t scored any runs.” ... Beltre’s 10th inning single extended his 12-game hitting streak against the Mariners. ... Holland has not lost in his last 11 road starts, the third-longest streak in team history.