ARLINGTON, Texas – Adrian Sampson and the Texas Rangers like the results of these delayed lengthy pitching appearances, with the right-hander entering after an “opener” gets through the first few batters.
Sampson allowed one earned run over 5 1/3 innings after taking over in the second inning Wednesday, getting his second big league victory in a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. That is the same way he got his first victory five days earlier against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“As long as we get wins, everyone’s happy,” Sampson said.
“Whether he likes it, I don’t know fully because I don’t think he’ll tell me like I hate this,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s so nice to have a guy like that, who’s willing to come in in the middle of the inning, can come in in the middle of an inning and pitch six innings.”
Hunter Pence homered for the Rangers (24-23), who completed a three-game series sweep. They have won seven of eight to get back over .500 for the first time since April 28.
The Mariners have lost 27 of 37 games to fall to the bottom of the AL West standings since starting the season 13-2.
Marco Gonzalez (5-4) limited Texas to one earned run over seven innings, but dropped to 0-4 with a 4.56 ERA in five starts in May. The lefty was 5-0 after his first seven starts this season, but this was one of his sharpest games.
“Doesn’t matter. We lose, it doesn’t matter. I’m not OK with it,” Gonzalez said. “It’s hard to be OK with it when we lose.”
Pence put the Rangers up 2-0 in the sixth when he went deep on a changeup, his 10th homer of the season. Texas got an unearned run in the first when Pence reached on an error by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion and scored on a double by Nomar Mazara .
Jesse Chavez got the first five outs for the Rangers. Shawn Kelley worked the ninth for his fourth save in five chances, his second in less than 24 hours since coming off the injured list following the removal of two lumps from his throat that were determined to benign.
In five starts this season, Sampson is 0-2 with a 7.66 ERA and hasn’t gone more than five innings. Pitching in relief, he is 2-1 with a 1.48 ERA. His first appearance was allowing one run over six innings in relief against Houston on April 1.
“I feel like I’m just finding comfort in pitching lately,” Sampson said. “Whether I’m starting or coming out of the bullpen, I just feel good out there right now.”