Johnson hammers two-run homer to get M's by Rangers

SEATTLE -- Rob Johnson kicked the dirt in frustration. He had just missed getting a bunt down in a key situation with the go-ahead run on first.

Now his at bat seemed like a failure before it was over.

The bunt sign was taken off and Johnson, who had been hitting .199, swung away for a tiebreaking, two-run homer that lifted the Seattle Mariners to a 4-1 victory Saturday night over the Texas Rangers.

"I was asked to do a job and I didn't get the bunt down," Johnson said. "I tried to bunt a slider in the dirt and I was pretty upset at myself. They call on you to do a job and you want to do it."

The rookie catcher's first homer this season and second of his career came off Kevin Millwood (8-7), who pitched six solid innings, but couldn't retire any of the three batters he faced in the seventh.

Ichiro Suzuki added an RBI single later in the inning and Russell Branyan hit his 22nd home run in the third.

Jarrod Washburn (6-6) gave up a run on Ian Kinsler's double in the third, and allowed only four hits in seven innings.

"It couldn't happen to a better guy," Washburn said. "He works hard behind the plate. He takes a lot of pride in everything he does back there but I know his offensive side has frustrated him a little bit. It's good to see him get that big hit."

David Aardsma finished the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.

"We had the bunt on and then took it off," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He goes deep and after he hit it I asked him if that was his first one and he said no. And he abruptly reminded me that he hit one in Oakland last year" (where Wakamatsu was the bench coach).

"So I had to laugh at that."

Millwood was charged with all four runs on six hits in six-plus innings.

The Rangers had a chance to score in the seventh inning after Marlon Byrd reached on a throwing error by shortstop Cedeno.

After Nelson Cruz's liner fell at the feet of center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, Byrd broke back toward first, apparently thinking the ball had been caught, and he couldn't scramble to second before Gutierrez's throw.

Byrd, who was stealing on the play, said he couldn't find the ball off the bat.

"I saw Gutierrez coming in and wasn't sure if he would catch the ball or not cause I still couldn't find the ball," he said. "I hit the bag and thought he would catch it and tried to go back to first. ... It ended up dropping in front of him and the force play is back in order."

Manager Ron Washington came out to argue, to no avail, and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia crushed a lineout to second baseman Jose Lopez.

"If he stays at second base and Salty comes up and hits the same ball that he hit, we got a run with runners on first and third," Washington said.

Game notes
3B Jack Hannahan, acquired in a trade with Oakland for minor league pitcher Justin Souza, learned about it at 9:30 Saturday morning. He was in Fresno but managed get to Seattle by 5 p.m. and was in the lineup. To make room, the club sent RHP Brandon Morrow to Triple-A Tacoma. I wasn't expecting it," Morrow said. I understand the situation. They need a roster spot. Ill go down to Tacoma knowing there are no promises when Ill come back. Well need a starter on the 25th, and well see what happens." ... OF David Murphy missed his second game with a strained finger on his right hand. Asked who could use the three-day All-Star break the most, Washington said Kinsler. I don't think that kid has ever been this tired," he said. ... Since Andruw Jones hit three consecutive home runs July 8 against the Angels, he has gone 0-for-13.