ARLINGTON,. Texas -- Seattle knew a bunt was coming, but the execution by Endy Chavez was so good the Mariners were unable to do anything but watch the ball hug the first-base line for a hit.
Chavez’s bunt set the stage for Josh Hamilton’s bottom of the ninth walk-off single in the Rangers’ 7-6 win over the Mariners on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark.
In a 6-6 tie, Ian Kinsler opened the bottom of the ninth by drawing a walk.
Seattle brought in left-hander Aaron Laffey to face the left-handed hitting Chavez.
The goal was to move Kinsler into scoring position, but Chavez did his job so well, it didn’t even cost the Rangers an out.
“I was trying to hit the ball to the right side,’’ said Chavez, who went through a session of bunting practice with many of his teammates earlier in the day. “It was nice to see the ball roll so straight. I knew I had a pretty good chance to beat it out.’’
Chavez was getting a rare chance to bat in the No. 2 spot in the batting order with Elvis Andrus being rested. And he took advantage, showing a wide range of skills that included a 384-foot solo home run in the first inning and a two-out RBI single in the second. He finished 3-for-5.
“I liked the home run and the bunt but I think the most fun was the base hit,’’ said Chavez.
Coming into the game, Chavez was in a 2-for-22 slump in his last seven games. He saw his average fall from .347 to .300 in that span. But he tends to get his hits in bunches. Tuesday marked his seventh game with at least three hits. He's played in only 50 games since coming up to the Rangers in mid-May.
“We’re doing everything we can to win,’’ Chavez said.