Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Mariners 2
SEATTLE -- Texas steadied the ship Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field and defeated Seattle 3-2 to avoid the series sweep. Starter Ryan Dempster was impressive in 6 2/3 innings of work, and though the offense missed several scoring opportunities -- 0-for-10 with RISP -- the Rangers belted two home runs.
Oakland avoided a sweep with a 5-4 win over the Yankees, so the A’s remain four games behind in the AL West race with an important four-game set against the Rangers starting Monday.
Texas moved to two games ahead of New York for AL home-field advantage. Texas’ magic number is now seven.
Some quick thoughts:
Home cookin’: Playing just 135 miles south of his Gibsons, B.C., hometown, Dempster impressed friends and family with six innings of shutout ball. But manager Ron Washington let the righty continue into the seventh at 103 pitches, and Dempster proceeded to give up two solo home runs in the frame before coming out. The veteran, who allowed six hits and struck out eight, now has seven wins since Aug. 1, the most in the AL during that span.
Preserving the win: Things got testy when Texas reliever Mike Adams loaded the bases with just one out in the eighth. But the righty struck out Eric Thames – who hit a home run in his previous at-bat – and got Luis Jimenez to fly out to center field.
That’s more like it: Two home runs in the fourth inning broke up a 15-inning scoreless streak for the Rangers. After suffering their fifth shutout of the season Saturday night, the Rangers came alive with 10 hits. However ...
There’s room for improvement: Texas squandered multiple opportunities to blow the game open. The Rangers were a terrible 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and finished the series a lowly 1-for-25. Having a healthy Josh Hamilton in the lineup, whenever that happens, may help that cause.
Young again: Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fifth inning, matching David Ortiz for the second-longest active streak in the American League. Young now has 259 career hits versus the Mariners, second all-time behind Cal Ripken Jr. (261).
Two catchers better than one: Geovany Soto and Mike Napoli (DH) were in the lineup Sunday and both took turns going yard into the Safeco Field bullpen during the fourth inning. Napoli rocked a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a solo shot and Soto followed up two batters later with a two-run jack into the exact same spot.
Crazy for K’s: Dempster (eight), Robbie Ross (one), Mike Adams (one) and Joe Nathan (two) combined for 12 strikeouts Sunday, which set a club record for strikeouts in one season at 1,193. Texas starters have now fanned 806 batters, also a team record.
More records broken: Texas moved to 90-62 and set a club record for the best 153-game mark. The 90 wins also ties for fourth most in franchise history. Last season, the Rangers won a team-record 96 games.
Up next: The Rangers head home after this six-game west coast swing to begin a crucial four-game set against Oakland. Derek Holland (11-6, 4.42 ERA) will take the mound against Oakland righty Dan Straily (2-1, 4.13 ERA) Monday at 7:05 p.m.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.