Rapid Reaction: Rangers 9, Mariners 3
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got a superb pitching performance from Yu Darvish, homers from Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton, and a huge relief appearance by Koji Uehara to beat the Seattle Mariners, 9-3, on Friday.
What it means: Texas stays three games up on Oakland, who beat the Baltimore Orioles late on Friday. ... The Rangers have won 86 games, most in the AL.
Darvish dazzles (again): In what is starting to become the norm for Darvish, the 26-year-old starter went deep into the game and kept the opponent from doing much. He gave up one run on two hits in seven innings. The Rangers are 18-9 when Darvish starts.
Darvish reaches 200 Ks: Darvish became the sixth AL rookie to reach 200 strikeouts, getting Carlos Peguero in the fifth to reach the mark. He struck out the side that inning. Darvish had nine strikeouts in the game. It's the 11th time he's had nine or more strikeouts in a game this season. Read more about that here.
Darvish joins Nolan: Friday was the third straight start where Darvish has pitched at least seven innings and allowed three or fewer hits. The only other pitcher in Rangers history to do that was Nolan Ryan, who also had a three-start span like that Aug. 28-Sept. 8, 1990.
Four straight for Uehara: Koji Uehara pitched for a fourth straight game and was dominant. He threw nine pitches -- all strikes -- in retiring all three batters he faced in the eighth inning. All of them batted left-handed against him. ... On Tuesday, Uehara allowed a single to the only batter he faced (Casey Kotchman). But on Wednesday, he retired three batters -- all of them left-handed -- to preserve a three-run lead and get the game to closer Joe Nathan. On Thursday, he got the final three batters of the ninth after Nathan blew the save. And Friday, he once again got the job done. He could prove critical, especially against lefties, come playoff time.
Kinsler leadoff homer: Kinsler blasted a 398-foot home run over the fence in left-center and into the Seattle bullpen to start the bottom of the first. It was ruled a double, but the ball hit a chair behind the wall and it didn't take the umpires long to review it and call it a home run. ... It was Kinsler's sixth leadoff home run of the season and the 26th of his career, as he builds his club record. The Rangers are 22-4 when he leads off the game with a homer.
Slow then fast: To finish off that fifth inning, Darvish threw Munenori Kawasaki a 61 mph curve ball that went over the plate for a strike as Kawasaki watched it. Darvish then fired a 94 mph fastball that Kawasaki couldn't catch up with to get the strikeout.
That's No. 42: Hamilton hit his 42nd homer of the season, belting the first pitch he saw from starter Hisashi Iwakuma in the third into the Home Run Porch in right. It was estimated at 417 feet and gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead. ... Hamilton's 42 homers lead the AL. He extended his MLB-leading RBI total to 123.
Insurance runs: A big eighth inning turned a one-run game into a comfortable win for Texas. Three doubles by Elvis Andrus, Hamilton and Geovany Soto helped the Rangers score four runs. Andrus then had a triple to score three more runs. In total, the Rangers got seven runs in the inning.
Dandy defense: Kinsler made one of his better defensive plays of the season in the third. He raced to a ground ball hit by Kawasaki behind the second base bag and then had the presence of mind to throw to third to get Peguero trying to advance. That helped snuff a Mariners' scoring attempt.
Cool temp: The temperature at first pitch was 66 degrees, the second-coldest temperature to start a game this season in Arlington. It was 65 degrees at first pitch April 8 vs. the Chicago White Sox, the third game of the season.
Up next: RHP Scott Feldman (6-11, 4.97 ERA) faces LHP Jason Vargas (14-10, 3.85 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.