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Mariners strike late to down slumping Rangers

May 4, 2011 - 6:08 AM Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Jack Cust singled through a drawn-in infield to knock in Miguel Olivo with the game-winning run in the eighth inning, as the Mariners downed the Rangers, 4-3, in the opener of a three-game series.

David Pauley (1-0) was in line for the loss before the Mariners rallied for two in the home eighth to vulture a win, Seattle's sixth in seven games.

Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 with two driven in for the victors.

Texas, which has lost seven of its last nine overall, had the tying run on second in the ninth, but Brandon League got David Murphy to bounce out sharply to short to finish off his eighth save.

The Rangers recorded no hits against starter Erik Bedard through five innings, but managed to take the lead off Seattle's bullpen in the eighth. Julio Borbon singled to start the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third. Elvis Andrus stepped in as a pinch-hitter and put down a well-placed bunt as Borbon raced across the plate standing up for a 3-2 advantage.

Seattle responded, as Adam Kennedy opened its final at-bat with a single and Olivo followed with a bunt hit. Smoak's single off the glove of Mike Napoli knocked in a run and promptly ended Pedro Strop's (0-1) relief appearance.

"I couldn't stop the bleeding," Strop said. "I'm upset, but that's part of the game. It happens, so I'm going to try and do better whenever I get the opportunity again."

Darren Oliver came out of the bullpen and was greeted by Cust's base hit up the middle, bringing in the eventual game-winning run.

"That was big for [Cust], obviously big for us," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Prior to that, he had some hard outs. Great to see him step up for us."

The Mariners wasted a bases-loaded, no-out chance in the second inning when Michael Saunders and Ryan Langerhans each went down on strikes and Brandan Ryan lined out to end the inning.

They managed to tie the game in their next at-beat, with Ichiro Suzuki scoring on Smoak's ground-rule double.

Bedard had not given up a hit to that point, but the Rangers got a run across in the first inning on Chone Figgins' error. Ian Kinsler scored on the potential double-play ball after leading off the inning with a walk.

Kinsler scored again in the sixth on Michael Young's base hit, but Seattle tied things in the seventh, as Langerhans came across on Suzuki's double-play ground ball.

Game Notes

Bedard ended up going seven innings and allowed two runs on two hits. His counterpart, Alexi Ogando, threw six innings of one-run ball and was touched for five hits and just one walk while fanning six...Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz left the game early with tightness in his right quad.