Robbie Ray K's 12, Julio Rodriguez hits grand slam as Seattle Mariners top Rangers for 12th straight win

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray doesn't recall being part of a run quite like what the Seattle Mariners are on these days. Everything is a new experience in the big leagues for All-Star rookie center fielder Julio Rodriguez, and he just keeps doing impressive things.

Ray struck out 12 without a walk over 6 2/3 innings before Rodriguez hit an emphatic grand slam as the Mariners extended their longest winning streak in more than two decades to 12 games with an 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

"He doesn't let the moment be bigger than it is and in that situation,'' Ray said of the 21-year-old outfielder who played his 89th game in the majors.

Rodriguez hit his first career slam on a full-count pitch with two outs to straightaway center for his 16th homer and finished with a career-best five RBIs. His run-scoring single in the fourth put the Mariners ahead 3-0.

"Tonight was more of our typical formula, dominant starting pitching," manager Scott Servais said. "We got some big hits tonight, no question about it. Talk about Julio, that is as good as at-bat against a quality bullpen arm. ... The looks in our dugout when that ball went over the fence, was like, did he just really do that? But he's a special player.''

Rodriguez now has 50 RBIs and 21 stolen bases this season, becoming the first first-year player since 1933 to reach those totals before the All-Star break, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

After Seattle loaded the bases on a single and two walks by reliever A.J. Alexy to start the eighth, Jose Leclerc struck out back-to-back batters, but was unable to get a third strike past Rodriguez.

"We fought, we got within a run, you could feel the momentum. We were one pitch away from, that whole eighth inning, the bottom of the eighth changes,'' Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "It's heartbreaking. But like I've said many times this year, we've got to bounce back and come back tomorrow.''

The only time the Mariners had a longer winning streak was their team-record 15 in row in 2001, their last playoff season. They have won 20 of their past 23 games overall. Atlanta has the only longer streak in the big leagues this season with 14 consecutive wins last month.

Eugenio Suarez doubled and scored Seattle's first run in the fourth. His sacrifice fly an inning later made it 4-0 before Corey Seager and Leody Taveras homered for the Rangers.

Ray (8-6) allowed three runs on those two Texas homers, while matching his season high for strikeouts. It was his 15th game since the start of 2021 with at least 10 K's, tied with Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes for the most in that span. Ray had 10 such games last season when the lefty won the AL Cy Young Award while pitching for Toronto.

"That's probably the best I felt all year. I felt like everything was working really well for me,'' said Ray, who after Seattle's four-run third struck out five Rangers in a row. "When your team puts up a crooked number, you go out and attack, attack the zone and try to get back in and get some more runs.''

Taylor Hearn (4-6) matched his career high with seven strikeouts over four innings after Matt Bush pitched a scoreless first as an opener. Hearn allowed four runs, two earned, while giving up five hits and walking two.

Seager's 22nd homer came a day after he was added to the American League All-Star team and the Home Run Derby. He will face Rodriguez in the first round of the derby next week at Dodger Stadium, which was Seager's home his first seven big league seasons before going to Texas in free agency last winter on a $325 million, 10-year contract.

That two-out solo shot in the sixth was Seager's seventh homer in the past 10 games and extended his career-best RBI streak to eight games. His career high for homers is 26 in 2016.

Taveras' two-run homer was his third of the year and cut the deficit to 4-3 in the seventh. Ray then got another strikeout before giving up a single on his 106th and final pitch.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.