Semien streak reaches 23, Heim drives in 5 as Rangers sweep Mariners
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marcus Semien's hitting streak, Nathan Eovaldi's nearly untouchable pitching, Travis Jankowski's leaping catches.
The AL West-leading Texas Rangers are doing just about everything right.
“Everybody I feel like is groovin' right now,” Eovaldi said.
Semien extended MLB's longest hitting streak this season to 23 games, Jonah Heim homered and drove in five runs, and Texas' offense kept rolling Sunday in a 12-3 victory that finished a sweep of the Seattle Mariners.
Corey Seager also went deep as the Rangers won consecutive games by a combined score of 28-9 after taking the series opener 2-0.
Texas scored at least 10 runs for a major league-leading 16th time in 58 games and has won five straight series, its longest streak in five years.
“You can’t say enough about our offense,” Eovaldi said. “It just makes my job a little easier to go out there and attack the guys knowing that I’ve got a few runs to play with.”
Eovaldi (8-2) allowed one hit with seven strikeouts in six scoreless innings for his seventh consecutive win. He would have gone beyond 87 pitches, but Texas had a 12-0 lead through six.
The right-hander has a 0.68 ERA in his past seven starts, a stretch that includes a career-best streak of 29 2/3 scoreless innings and two complete games. He began the day as the only pitcher in the majors with multiple complete games.
All nine Texas batters in the starting lineup had at least one hit as the Rangers finished with 15 a day after pounding out a season-high 19. Rookie third baseman Josh Jung had three hits.
“Throughout the order, everybody has done such a great job of hitting with runners in scoring position,” said manager Bruce Bochy, who passed Walter Alston for 10th on the career wins list with his 2,041st. “One guy doesn't do it, we just feel good about the next guys.”
Jankowski, the No. 9 hitter, was the last to join the group with a leadoff double in the sixth. By then, the center fielder had already made the defensive play of the game by taking a home run away from Mike Ford with a leaping catch over the wall in front of the Texas bullpen in right-center in the fifth.
Jankowski had another leaping grab at the wall in center in the eighth, although Cal Raleigh's liner appeared to be just below the yellow line near the 407-foot sign.
A final defensive gem ended it, when backup shortstop Josh Smith jumped to snag Kolten Wong's line drive for an unassisted double play. It sealed the Mariners' second nine-run loss a day after their first 10-run defeat of the season.
“We’re not playing winning baseball against top-flight teams,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s one of the best offenses we’ve seen all year. Ton of credit there. And on the flip side, we didn’t pitch our best, or play our best, in this series.”
Just as he did in a 16-6 Texas victory Saturday, Semien extended his career-best hitting streak with a leadoff double in the first inning. He has reached base in 31 consecutive games, also a career high.
Seattle rookie Bryce Miller had walked three in his first 36 major league innings before walking two in the first ahead of Heim's two-out, two-run double with the bases loaded.
Miller (3-3) retired just one of seven batters in the third before getting replaced after Robbie Grossman's two-run double. Seager opened the five-run inning with his sixth homer.
The 24-year-old Texan gave up seven runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings after allowing 11 hits and eight runs to the New York Yankees in his previous start. Miller permitted just four runs with three scoreless outings in the first five starts of his big league career.
“Not quite the same velo or life on the fastball that we saw early on,” Servais said. “That happens, young guys going through this for the first time.”
MORE BIG INNINGS
Texas had another five-run inning in the sixth, capped by Heim's seventh homer, a three-run shot off the foul pole in right. The five RBIs tied Heim's career high. The Rangers had a five-run inning Saturday.
Mariners SS J.P. Crawford and Rangers CF Leody Taveras both had the day off after getting banged up on a force play at second base late in Saturday's blowout. Crawford had to dive toward the bag to tag Taveras. Crawford has a bruised right knee but isn't expected to miss extended time. Bochy said the club expected Taveras to be sore and planned to rest him.
Mariners: Monday is the first of two days off this week. RHP Logan Gilbert (3-3, 4.08 ERA) is set for the opener of a two-game series in San Diego on Tuesday. He has a 15-3 road record.
Rangers: LHP Martín Pérez (6-1, 4.43) is scheduled for the opener of a three-game series against St. Louis on Monday. He has a 1.59 ERA in his past nine interleague starts.
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