Doing it the right way every day

— -- ARLINGTON, Texas -- Manager Ron Washington isn't much into karma when it comes to baseball. And he's not all that interested in discussing luck.

But he does like to talk about how teams that consistently do what the game asks them to do often get rewarded in unexpected ways, like walk-off wins.

The Texas Rangers did it again Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners. They did it on a night when Felix Hernandez was sensational and Yu Darvish showed an ability to grind through seven innings.

They did it on yet another night when the offense struggled. And they did it against closer Fernando Rodney, who had not allowed a run this season.

Oh, and the Rangers started their winning rally after Alex Rios and Prince Fielder started the ninth inning with outs.


Texas 3, Seattle 2.

That's four walk-off wins for the Rangers in their first 15 games of the season. No team in Major League Baseball has more.

"It was a tremendous win. That's why you play nine innings," Washington said. "Those kinds of wins build character. When you have a new group, this helps them learn how to hang together and play until the third out is made. We pulled it out tonight.

"You just play nine innings and good things usually happen. I wish it was that simple and it was karma and you could just make it happen. Tonight, we made it happen.

"We put some good at bats against Rodney tonight. He didn't have his command tonight and it helped us, but we just kept fighting."

For the game's first seven innings, the Rangers couldn't touch Hernandez, who allowed just four hits, struck out nine and lowered his ERA to 1.91 this season.

Leonys Martin led off the eighth inning with a triple to right-center field. For some reason, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon yanked Hernandez from the game.

Who knew Jim Adduci, who spent the past 10 seasons in the minor leagues, was such a well-respected, left-handed hitter.

{C}Hernandez is among the game's best pitchers, and he's in the midst of a terrific season. Hernandez against any batter on the Rangers' roster would seem to be an advantage Seattle.

McClendon, clearly, thought otherwise. Hernandez pounded his hand into his mitt as he left the mound and exited the game.

McClendon brought in left-hander Charlie Furbush to face Adduci, who was pinch-hitting for Josh Wilson.

Washington quickly countered with pinch hitter Michael Choice, who did exactly what the game asked him to do. He lofted a fly ball to left field that allowed Martin to score and pull the Rangers within 2-1.

With two outs in the ninth, Kevin Kouzmanoff singled to center and moved to second when Mitch Moreland walked on a 3-2 pitch.

Donnie Murphy grounded to shortstop, and the game appeared to be over when Brad Miller fielded the ball and flipped it to second baseman Robinson Cano. But the toss was too high and Moreland slid in safely.

See, it would have been easy for Moreland to lollygag on the play and assume he was going to be out, but he ran hard and forced the Mariners to make the play.

They didn't, and suddenly the game's momentum changed. The error loaded the bases, which meant all the Rangers needed was a hit to win the game.

"That's the way you play the game," Washington said of Moreland's hustle.

{C}These Rangers don't always play well, but they always play hard. Washington demands it.

And they make their opponent play nine innings every night. Whether they're playing well or getting blown out, they play the game the right way every day.

Not every team does.

"These kind of games definitely help. When you play a certain amount of games, you realize you have been there," Moreland said. "Everybody would like to win by four or five runs every night, but that's not the case.

"It just shows we're not going to give up. We're going to fight to the end."

Rodney, frazzled by Miller's miscue, unleashed a wild pitch to the backstop, allowing Kouzmanoff to tie the score at 2-2. Martin followed with a single to left.


It was time for yet another dog pile in the middle of the Rangers' infield, then a beer shower in the clubhouse for Martin.