The Texas Rangers were dealt consecutive losses over the weekend, and they'll look to get back on track Monday night when they open a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
The Rangers fell to the Chicago White Sox, 3-2, on Saturday, and then 5-2 on Sunday to mark their first back-to-back losses since the last week of July. Texas went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position during those two games, as Jeff Baker's two-run home run represented all of the team's offensive production in Sunday's loss. Starter Matt Garza gave up five runs (four earned) in seven innings.
"We had chances, especially myself. I think this one was on me," said third baseman Adrian Beltre, who stranded five base runners. "I didn't get the clutch hit."
Despite the back-to-back losses, it remains a two-team race in the American League West, where Texas (75-55) leads the Oakland Athletics by 2 1/2 games.
Meanwhile, Seattle suffered a three-game sweep at home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the weekend. The Angels concluded the series with Sunday's 7-1 victory, as all seven of their runs were scored with two outs. Dustin Ackley's solo shot in the third inning was all the M's could muster off Jered Weaver, who pitched eight strong innings for the Halos.
Seattle will now turn to Joe Saunders, who gave up four runs on 10 hits against Oakland his last time out but came away with a no-decision. The left- hander has posted a 6.53 ERA in four August starts and has already faced the Rangers four times this season (1-2, 5.40).
Making the start for Texas is Travis Blackley, who was acquired from Houston on Aug. 14 for cash considerations after posting a 4.89 ERA in 42 relief appearances for the Astros. He replaced Alexi Ogando (shoulder inflammation) in the starting rotation on Tuesday and faced none other than the Astros, as he allowed two runs in four innings and logged 66 pitches.
"He kept us around," manager Ron Washington said. "It's been a long time since he competed as a starter. I thought he did a great job of keeping us around. He just ran out of pitches. We had a number for him and he reached it in the fourth inning."
It will be up to Blackley to try and cool down Kyle Seager, who is hitting at a ridiculous .409 clip in 66 at-bats against Texas this season.
Seattle won two of three when these teams met up in Arlington from Aug. 16-18. Seager went 4-for-11 with five RBIs in that series and scored the go-ahead run in both of Seattle's victories. In fact, the M's have won five of the last seven head-to-head meetings.