SEATTLE -- Texas leadoff hitter Leonys Martin capped a solid offensive night with the game-winning RBI on a two-out single in the top of the ninth inning as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Saturday night.
It marked the second night in a row that Texas (34-34) has beaten the Mariners by a single run. Rangers closer Joakim Soria picked up saves on back-to-back nights for the third time in a span of three weeks.
Martin drilled a two-out pitch from Mariners closer Fernando Rodney just under the glove of diving third baseman Kyle Seager to score Luis Sardinas from second base and break a 3-3 tie. Rodney (1-3) took the loss, his first since May 13.
Martin went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two stolen bases while filling the leadoff role for only the second time this season. Before Saturday's game, Texas manager Ron Washington told reporters that he didn't have a true leadoff hitter and then Martin went out and proved him wrong.
Texas reliever Neal Cotts (2-3) picked up the win after pitching 1 2/3 innings without allowing a run. Cotts struck out the final four batters he faced, including all three in the bottom of the eighth, before Soria came on to retire all three batters he faced in the ninth.
Soria's outing included an impressive stab of a hard liner off the bat of Seattle's James Jones for the second out of the ninth inning.
Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos highlighted a three-run sixth inning with a two-out, two-run homer that put Texas ahead 3-1. It marked the third time that Chirinos has homered in a span of 11 games.
The Mariners got a run back on catcher John Buck's RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. Buck's hit scored Robinson Cano from second base, although the play at the plate was so close that the Rangers challenged the call -- it was upheld, pulling Seattle within 3-2.
The relatively new instant-replay rule came into play again in the top of the seventh when umpires overturned a call on what was initially ruled a caught-stealing.
Texas baserunner Elvis Andrus got caught in a rundown and dived back into first base as Mariners shortstop Willie Bloomquist made a diving attempt to tag his foot. Andrus was ruled out by the first-base umpire, but a three-minute, 20-second replay review showed that Bloomquist's glove never actually touched Andrus.
A bases-loaded single from Cano drove in a run to tie the score 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
On consecutive nights, Seattle starting pitchers allowed just one earned run and five hits but had an 0-1 record and one no-decision to show for it.
Texas starter Joe Saunders had a solid outing against his former team, allowing two earned runs and eight hits in six innings, but he did not figure into the decision.
The 32-year-old left-hander spent the 2013 season with the Mariners, who declined his contract option in the winter.
The Mariners struck first on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly by right fielder Stefan Romero that scored Buck from third base for a 1-0 lead. It marked the first run scored by Seattle in 14 innings.
Runs were hard to come by for both teams in the early innings, despite several baserunners on both sides. Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez got a caught-stealing and a 9-4-2 putout at home plate to help bail him out in the first two innings, and Saunders got an inning-ending double play after loading the bases in the third.
Saunders took a sharp ground ball off the bat of Seattle's Logan Morrison to the midsection in the fourth but was able to corral the ball and throw to first for the third out. Saunders knelt on one knee on the pitching mound for several seconds before trainers came out to check on him. He returned to the mound for the fifth.
Ramirez pitched five scoreless innings, extending his streak to 9 1/3 innings without allowing a run. Ramirez allowed three hits and four walks while striking out four.
NOTES: Texas starter Joe Saunders, who played with Seattle last season, entered the game with a career 8-1 record against the Mariners. He was 6-0 as an opposing pitcher at Safeco Field. ... Rangers OF Michael Choice got the day off Saturday after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts the previous night. Manager Ron Washington told reporters that Choice was getting "a mental break." CF Leonys Martin was in the leadoff spot. "I don't have a leadoff guy," Washington said, referring to the Rangers' decision to trade 2B Ian Kinsler in the offseason. "He's not here. I've got to put somebody in the spot. I'm making the best of what I've got." ... Mariners DH Jesus Montero, who was called up from Triple-A on Thursday but had yet to play in a game, was hitting cleanup for Seattle on Saturday. ... Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon took issue with a pregame question about his team needing to work on bunting. The Mariners failed to get down three key bunts in a 1-0 loss to Texas the previous day and McClendon responded to a question about it by saying, "Come out at 3:30 or 4 and see the work we do. ... You either execute or you don't."