MLB

Rangers-Mariners Preview

Tuesday's offensive outburst is a good sign for the Texas Rangers and a very bad sign for several other playoff-hopeful teams.

Fresh off their highest scoring output since mid-August, the Rangers look to take the first three of a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

A 9-6 victory in the second game helped Texas (73-64) claw within one game of AL West-leading Houston while bumping its advantage for the second wild card to 2 1/2 over Minnesota.

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Even better, Texas showed signs of life at the plate with its highest run total since Aug. 15 and home runs from Shin-soo Choo, Mitch Moreland, Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo.

The Rangers - nine games over .500 for the first time since closing 2013 at 91-72 - averaged just 2.7 runs through the first seven games of their 10-game West Coast trip, but they have won nine of 12 to overtake the Twins for the second wild card.

"This is an offense that's been a formidable offense for us," manager Jeff Banister told MLB's official website, "...and when they come, they'll come in bunches."

Wednesday starter Martin Perez has been bitten by low run support in two of his last three starts. Perez (2-4, 5.07 ERA) has allowed three runs in each of his last five outings, but he took losses on Aug. 20 and Friday after receiving no runs and two runs, respectively.

The left-hander's most recent start featured another unlikely hurdle, stomach discomfort caused by food poisoning. Perez battled through to post a quality start, holding the Los Angeles Angels to three runs and five hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss. He walked four and struck out three.

Take out a dismal inning on July 28 against the New York Yankees in which Perez allowed eight runs during a 21-5 loss, and his ERA would be 3.70. Since then he is 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA, including six innings against the Mariners on Aug. 8 in which he gave up two earned runs in an 11-3 win.

Perez is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts and two relief appearances against Seattle.

Vidal Nuno will get his fifth spot start this year for the Mariners (66-73), all coming since Aug. 4. The left-hander last started on Aug. 31, allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-3 loss in Houston. He made two relief appearances in Oakland since, facing three hitters combined and surrendering two singles while recording one out.

Nuno (0-2, 3.72) is 3-15 with a 4.23 ERA in 36 starts during his three-year career, and he hasn't won since June 27, 2014.

Nuno has given up at least one home run in each of his five starts this year, including a career high-tying three his last time out against the Astros.

"Giving up those home runs killed me a little bit," Nuno told MLB's official website. "I was leaving balls up, not finding my fastball."

Kyle Seager went 1 for 4 with an RBI for the Mariners on Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He has seven hits in 17 at-bats against Perez, including two home runs.

Delino DeShields was out of Texas' lineup and is day to day after spraining his left knee trying to steal third base in the series opener. Will Venable went 2 for 4 with an RBI out of the leadoff spot in his place.

Nelson Cruz (right quadriceps) and Franklin Gutierrez (right groin) were not in Seattle's lineup Tuesday and are each day to day.