Ibanez, Mariners eliminate Rangers from AL West chase

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Even though there are spots available in
the Seattle Mariners' rotation in 2007, Cha Seung Baek is trying
not to look too far into the future.

The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over 6 2/3
innings to continue an impressive late-season surge, and Raul
Ibanez homered as the Mariners eliminated the Texas Rangers from
the AL West race with a 6-3 victory Wednesday night.

Baek (4-1) struck out five and walked one, beating the Rangers
for the second time since he was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on
Aug. 22. The native of South Korea allowed four hits over seven
shutout innings in a 7-2 win over Texas on Sept. 8.

"I think most everybody here is looking for a job," Baek said.
"I can just focus on each game, not for next year."

Baek, who made his 11th major league start, has pitched at least
into the sixth in all of his victories this season.

Manager Mike Hargrove has been impressed with Baek's success
against the Rangers.

"He hit his spots and kept the ball away from the middle of the
plate against a good-hitting ball club," Hargrove said. "But the
key is pitching inside to some good hitters."

J.J. Putz got the last three outs for his 34th save.

Yuniesky Betancourt had three hits for the Mariners, who won two
of three from the Rangers. Before that series, Seattle had lost 18
of its previous 24 games at Texas.

"We haven't had much success [in Texas] since I've been here,"
Ibanez said. "Winning games here haven't come easy."

Texas had already been eliminated from wild-card contention,
leaving the Rangers with little to play for the rest of the way.

"It's disappointing," Texas' Mark DeRosa said. "But you play
for your own pride. Only eight teams go to the playoffs. You have
to bear down and take pride in your work."

Nelson Cruz had a two-run homer and Michael Young hit his 50th
double for the Rangers, tying Juan Gonzalez's club record set in

"It means a lot," Young said of matching the record. "It's
always been my game, driving balls into the gap. Home runs for me
are accidents."

Rangers rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler's two fielding errors
led to three runs.

"Ian's been good defensively," Rangers manager Buck Showalter
said. "He got a couple of tough in-between hops."

Seattle got a run in the first off Robinson Tejeda (4-4) when
Ichiro Suzuki doubled, went to third on a fly ball and scored on
Kenji Johjima's sacrifice fly.

The Mariners made it 3-0 in the third on Kinsler's two-run
fielding error. Johjima singled, went to third on Richie Sexson's
double, and they both scored when Kinsler booted Ben Broussard's
ground ball.

In the fifth, Ibanez led off with his career-high 28th homer and
Betancourt hit a two-out double. Betancourt scored when Kinsler
threw late to first on Jose Lopez's grounder, making it 5-0.

Baek hit Gerald Laird with a pitch in the fifth and Cruz
followed with his fifth homer to make it 5-2.

Lopez's RBI single in the seventh stretched Seattle's lead to
6-2 and Hank Blalock made it 6-3 in the ninth with an RBI-single.

Tejeda allowed five runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in five

Game notes
Baek is 3-0 lifetime against Texas. ... The Rangers
finished 7-3 at home against the Mariners. ... Texas' Gary Matthews
Jr. went 0-for-4 to end his career-best 13-game hitting streak. ...
Tejeda won three of his previous four decisions. ... Seattle's
Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... The
Rangers fell to 38-40 at home.