Mitch Haniger had himself a real Ryan Sweeney kind of series against Texas this weekend. In addition to hitting the go-ahead, eventual game winning almost homer on Friday, Haniger hit a three-run bomb against Cole Hamels to turn a 6-1 potential laugher into an actual 6-4 contest.
Once the Mariners finished the comeback to tie it at six apiece, Hangier absolutely robbed Joey Gallo of a go-ahead two-run blast in the top of the eighth. Nomar Mazara hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth that Haniger couldn't reach which eventually led to Haniger reaching via bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth. Nelson Cruz followed by walking it off with a single against a crumbling Sam Dyson.
It appears Haniger has designs on joining a dubious list every day marginal players like Paul Sorrento, Peter Bourjos, and Sweeney (Vladdy, Salmon and Seager don't really count since they were/are legit all-star types) who anecdotally seemed to raise their game when playing Texas. Which, you know, means fuck Mitch Haniger.
As for Hamels, he wasn't very good today in addition to allowing the M's back in the game with Haniger's dinger. Hamels allowed three earned runs in five innings on 96 pitches and threw only 60 for strikes while walking three Mariners as he continues to fight command issues. Hamels collected just two strikeouts.
Tony Barnette was unusually ineffective as he allowed the M's to make up the two run difference over his inning and a third. However, the Rangers got scoreless thirds from Alex Claudio and Jeremy Jeffress.
Perhaps the best thing that happened, from a pitching standpoint, on Sunday was the return of Matt Bush who struck out the side in order in the eighth but that was all ruined by the continued disaster that is Dyson.
Player of the Game: If it weren't for Haniger, this game was all Shin-Soo Choo. Choo was dropped to 7th in the order and responded by hitting his first dong of the year -- a three-run shot -- and collected another two RBIs on a double.
Up Next: The Rangers mercifully begin the final leg of their west coast road trip in Oakland against the A's with A.J. Griffin making the start for Texas against youngster RHP Jharel Cotton. First pitch from The Coliseum is scheduled for 9:05 pm CT.