After getting no-hit by Baltimore’s John Means in their previous game, Seattle manager Scott Servais decided to shake up the Mariners’ batting order.
The moves worked.
The Mariners had 10 hits in a 5-4 victory against the Texas Rangers on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series. The teams will meet again Saturday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
“Sometimes it’s just a different look;, you know you’re hitting behind a different guy and you get a little bit different feel and it worked out,” Servais said. “It’s a credit to our guys. They really came out and hung in there.”
Ty France, who had batted second most of the season, and reigning American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, who was hitting cleanup, flipped spots.
J.P. Crawford, who hit ninth in 23 of his first 32 games this season, moved up to the No. 5 hole for the first time in his six-year career.
France snapped an 0-for-24 slump with a leadoff double in the fourth inning, Lewis had a season-high three hits, including a double, and Crawford went 3-for-3 with his first home run of the season.
Crawford spent most of the 2019 season, his first with the Mariners, batting second. He moved to the leadoff spot during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but with Mitch Haniger returning from injury and Crawford struggling in spring training, he was sent to the bottom of the order.
“To J.P.’s credit, he’s made a lot of adjustments,” Servais said. “His hands are in a little bit different spot, he’s focused on trying to stay through the ball, stay inside balls and go the other way. I think he’s even gone to a little bit smaller bat. It’s just little things you have to do throughout the year based on how you’re feeling. That’s what pros do, and we’re seeing it.”
Will Servais stick with the new batting order?
“We’ll see,” he said with a chuckle.
The Rangers scored in each of the first three innings against Seattle right-hander Chris Flexen, but they were shut out the rest of the way.
Texas’ Adolis Garcia was picked off first base twice, and the Rangers grounded into three double plays.
“We feel like we gave a few outs away there on the bases,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “At the time, we had the lead, but we saw what happened. We were a base hit or a bloop away or a homer away from tying it, and (Garcia) got a little bit careless I thought, especially the second time.
“I was a little bit frustrated in some of the at-bats the second and third time. We were hitting (Flexen) hard the first time around. We’ve got to stick to the plan right there and try to wear him down, be we just didn’t.”
Rangers rookie right-hander Kohei Arihara (2-3, 5.76 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday and will make his first appearance against Seattle.
Right-hander Erik Swanson (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who has four strikeouts and a walk in four innings this season over two games, will start for the Mariners. He’s 0-2 in four appearances (one start) with an 11.45 ERA over 8 2/3 innings in his career against the Rangers.
–Field Level Media