Rangers avoid sweep with Fourth of July uprising

Adrian Beltre said it all with four words.

“It was about time,” Beltre said.

Beltre was speaking for himself finding his power stroke, and for the Rangers’ offense as a whole to break through.

Beltre found his stroke early on Thursday, and his teammates eventually found theirs to avoid delivering a dud with a 5-4 victory over the Mariners on a perfect Fourth of July night at Rangers Ballpark.

Beltre homered for the first time in nearly a month in the second inning, and then sparked a four-run rally in the seventh with another blast.

“We’re getting more confidence,” Beltre said. “That’s what we should be doing. Every team goes through stretches where they don’t hit in key situations, like we’ve been doing the last couple of games, but we believe we can do it, and this is a good start to getting good swings in key situations.”

It didn’t appear to be the Rangers’ night early on, though.

Beltre connected on a solo shot in the second off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma for an early 1-0 lead, but the Rangers managed only two singles the next four innings.

By the time the Rangers batted in the seventh, the Mariners had a 3-1 lead. They scored an unearned run in the sixth on a throwing error by Ian Kinsler, and took their first lead on a two-run homer by Raul Ibanez off Neal Cotts in the seventh inning.

The Mariners seemed to be on track for their first three-game sweep at Rangers Ballpark since 2001. The Rangers wrote a different ending, though.

Beltre started the seventh with his second homer of the night, sending a 1-1 fastball onto Greene’s Hill. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a single, and Lance Berkman drew a walk.

Mitch Moreland, who stepped to the plate 2 for his last 20, snaked an RBI single up the middle to score Pierzynski and move pinch runner Engel Beltre to third.

“I was going up there to have a little fun and try to make something happen,” Moreland said. “That’s all I was worried about, to have fun in that situation.”

The fun continued when Engel Beltre scored on a sacrifice fly by Elvis Andrus as the Rangers regained a 4-3 lead.

“It’s exciting when we can run the bases,” manager Ron Washington said.

They added another run when Moreland came home on a single by Kinsler. It was a much-needed run, too.

The Mariners scored a run in the eighth off Tanner Scheppers, but Joe Nathan worked around a two-out single in the ninth for his 28th save.

“We needed [the victory],” Moreland said. “Adrian came up with two big ones to put together an opportunity in the seventh to build something, and it worked for us.”

The revived offense proved to be the storyline on the night, but the pitching staff did its job.

Starter Martin Perez didn’t factor into the decision, dancing in and out of trouble over 5 1/3 innings. He wasn’t as dominant as his previous two starts against St. Louis and Cincinnati but pitched well enough.

He had runners at first and third with no outs in the second, but struck out Justin Smoak. Perez then issued a walk to load the bases, but got Henry Blanco to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Perez went on to do that the rest of his night. He stranded two runners in the third, another in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

Perez was charged with an unearned run in the sixth on the throwing error by Kinsler.

Jason Frasor retired all three batters he faced before Cotts ran into trouble in the seventh. Cotts has been remarkable since joining the team in mid-May, but didn’t record an out and served up the homer to Ibanez.

But Josh Lindblom got the final two outs of the seventh to earn his first victory since Aug. 31, 2012. Scheppers gave up a run-scoring single to Ibanez in the eighth.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram