Rangers carry momentum into finale with Mariners
The Texas Rangers probably won't need another overwhelming offensive showing for the deciding game of their three-game series with the Seattle Mariners in Arlington.
Craig Gentry registered three RBI and was one of nine players to plate a run in the Rangers' 15-3 rout of Seattle on Saturday, which avenged their 3-1 loss in Friday's series opener. Texas produced five of its runs in the opening five innings, with the usually unhittable Felix Hernandez on the mound, and never looked back.
"There's a time this year where we might get those five runs, and we might not add on the rest of the game," Rangers left-fielder David Murphy said. "There might be a sense of contentment, and this offense is not content until the last out is made. We're going to use every one of our 27 outs, and that's exactly what we did tonight."
Leonys Martin, Jurickson Profar and Murphy each knocked in two runs, while Mitch Moreland added an RBI and three runs scored. Adrian Beltre went 2-for-4 with a walk to raise his batting average to .326, which is the third highest in the AL.
"They have a pretty good lineup," Hernandez said. "They battle a lot. They have a pretty good approach against me. And if you make a mistake, they're going to hurt you."
The Rangers, who sit 1 1/2 games ahead of Oakland for the AL West lead, will now send the red-hot Yu Darvish to the mound as they attempt to take the series. Darvish was sensational in his last appearance, pitching a no-hitter until a solo home run ruined his quest in the eighth inning. He struck out 15 batters and didn't allow any other hits in his eight innings of work. The Japanese righty has picked up a win in each of his last three starts.
Seattle will counter with Erasmo Ramirez, who seems to get stronger run support than most. The 23-year old has avoided any losing decisions this season despite owning a 7.06 ERA. Ramirez gave up four runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings versus Tampa Bay on Tuesday and that was enough to give him his fourth win in his last five starts.
The Mariners have to figure out a way to get runners on base against Darvish to give their young starter a chance. Kendrys Morales, who leads the team with a .289 batting average, is 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in the series. Kyle Seager hit a home run and drove in a pair of runs in both games. He is 6- for-16 with four doubles and seven RBI in his career versus Darvish.
Although Darvish is only 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA in his career versus Seattle, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Morales are a combined 6-for-46 against him in history.
The Mariners are 6-9 versus Texas this season. The Rangers had won eight games in a row before losing two of their last four.