Fielder, Rangers pound King Felix for four earned runs
Choice homers in sixth; bullpen loses lead in bottom of the eighth
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Rangers touched Mariners ace Felix Hernandez for four earned runs Sunday, but Seattle rallied for a 9-8 victory over Texas at Peoria Stadium in a battle of AL West rivals.
The Mariners rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth to overtake the Rangers, with a Mike Dowd ground-rule double, a Cole Gillespie triple and a Chris Taylor double tying the game. The Mariners took the lead when Xavier Avery lined a single off the body of pitcher Cory Burns.
Outfielder Michael Choice belted a solo homer and scored three runs while catcher Robinson Chirinos had four hits and three RBIs for Texas. Veteran infielder Willie Bloomquist went 3-for-3 for Seattle.
In his second outing of the spring, Hernandez allowed those four earned runs on four hits while striking out four and walking one in 2 1/3 innings. Rangers starter Colby Lewis allowed just one hit and one walk in his two innings of work as Texas lost for ninth time in 11 Cactus League contests.
Hernandez walked his first batter of the day but got out of the first unscathed. The second inning didn't work out quite so well for Hernandez, as Jim Adduci reached on an infield single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Mike Zunino. Chirinos then carved a ground-rule double past the right-field foul pole to drive home the first run of the game.
After recording the first out of the third, Hernandez allowed a single by Elvis Andrus that eluded right fielder Corey Hart before Prince Fielder's double to left-center brought Andrus sliding home safely around Zunino's tag. After Lucas Luetge relieved Hernandez (48 pitches), Adam Rosales knocked home the last two runs charged to Hernandez.
The Mariners got on the board in the third with a trio of singles, Kyle Seager's shot to right-center driving home Brad Miller. They scored two more in the fourth on an RBI double by Logan Morrison and a sacrifice fly by Michael Saunders, but the Rangers got those two runs right back when Chirinos dropped a bloop single into right field in the fifth. Choice's homer in the sixth made it a five-run lead.
Up Next: Yu Darvish makes his third start of the spring against the Reds in Surprise. Darvish has allowed two runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts this spring. Third baseman Adrian Beltre is expected to be back in the lineup after getting a day off on Sunday. Beltre is 5-for-13 to begin Cactus League play.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.