Jason Vargas eyes his second win of the season this afternoon when the Seattle Mariners close out a four-game set with the Texas Rangers.
Vargas has already made two starts this season, both coming against the anemic lineup of the Oakland Athletics. After allowing a run in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision to the A's in Japan, Vargas picked up his first win of the season in Oakland on Friday, surrendering two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 frames. He also struck out three and walked a batter in that one.
After providing him with just one run in the Japan contest, the Mariners exploded for seven runs with Vargas on the hill in Oakland.
"It was awesome, especially that inning where we really [needed] to score and had the bases loaded," said Vargas, who has had the lowest run support in the AL of any starter since the start of 2009. "Those are times you really have to take advantage, and we did -- and that's a good sign."
Vargas has faced the Rangers 11 times (nine starts) and is 3-4 with a 4.53 ERA.
Texas will counter with Derek Holland, who did not get a decision his first time out. Holland pitched on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox and allowed three runs and three hits in six innings of his team's 4-3 loss. He also walked three and struck out five.
With two outs and nobody on in the third Holland walked Brent Lillibridge and Adam Dunn. Paul Konerko then doubled into the right-center-field gap to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead.
"Those are the type of things Derek has to get past, and he will," Rangers manager Ron Washington said about the walks.
"That was really bad on my part," Holland said. "I'm pretty upset about that. One pitch [to Konerko] got away from me. I didn't get in the right spot."
Holland should have no trouble bouncing back against the Mariners today, as he is 5-1 lifetime against them with a 3.17 ERA in 10 games (six starts).
Seattle picked up a win on Wednesday, as John Jaso's RBI single capped a three-run ninth inning rally in a 4-3 win at Rangers Ballpark.
Jesus Montero had a sacrifice fly and Michael Saunders had a run-scoring double in the ninth before Jaso slapped a base hit up the middle for the game- deciding run to snap the Mariners' two-game losing streak.
Kevin Millwood made his Mariners debut and allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven through a six-inning start. Lucas Luetge (1-0) earned the win with 1 1/3 innings of relief before Brandon League stranded the tying run on second base for his third save of the year.
"He's got some life on his fastball and he's a little sneaky," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said about Millwood. "He's done it for a long time, he knows how to pitch and he ended up doing a great job tonight."
Joe Nathan (0-2) allowed all three runs on four hits in the ninth inning to suffer the loss.
Ian Kinsler, who signed a five-year extension with the Rangers earlier Wednesday, and Elvis Andrus both homered for Texas, which had its three-game win streak come to an end.
Texas was an incredible 15-4 last season versus the Mariners.