The Seattle Mariners have picked a terrible time to go into a tailspin.
Seattle has lost two straight and seven of its last 12 games, and trails Boston by 2 1/2 games in the wild-card race with 12 to play. The Mariners trail Oakland in the AL West race by a season-high 4 1/2 games.
After coming into this season with just 12 career wins, Meche, a 25-year-old right-hander, is 15-10, including 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his last three starts. Meche spent last season in the minors following two shoulder operations, which kept him out the year before.
“After all I’ve been through, I’m just glad to be at this point,” Meche said. “It’s great to have a lot of wins, but really I’m just glad to be pitching. I’m healthy. I feel better now than I did at the beginning of the year.”
The last major league pitcher to win more than 14 games after a two-year absence was Whitey Ford, who went 18-6 in 1953 for the New York Yankees after returning from military service during the Korean War.
“It’s a cool thing to have, but I wouldn’t say it means a whole lot to me,” Meche said. “I just want to keep on winning. I’ve got three more starts and I hope I can win some more.”
The Mariners are counting on Meche to shut down the slugging Rangers.
“We know Seattle is trying to make the playoffs,” Teixeira said. “We’re trying to win games just like they are, so it makes it more interesting.”
Teixeira, who tied a career high with four RBIs, hit his 23rd home run of the season.
With his home run, Palmeiro joined Jimmie Foxx as the only players in major league history to reach 35 homers and 100 RBIs in nine straight seasons.
Palmeiro’s 525th career homer, a solo shot, came in the fourth inning off Joel Pineiro and gave him 103 RBIs.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 2nd place, 4 1/2 GB, AL West. Rangers - 4th place, 24 1/2 GB, AL West.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Meche (15-10, 3.99 ERA). Meche is 3-2 with a 5.53 ERA in five career starts against Texas. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits over eight innings in an 8-2 win on Thursday.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: John Thomson (12-13, 4.95 ERA). Thomson is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in five career starts against Seattle. The veteran right-hander has struggled over his last three starts, going 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA. Thomson allowed three runs and four hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-1 loss to Seattle on Wednesday.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 9-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - OF Suzuki is second in the AL with 194 hits, four behind Toronto’s Vernon Wells. … 2B Boone is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with two home runs in his career against RHP Thomson. … DH Edgar Martinez is batting .216 (8-for-37) with two home runs in September. Rangers - 1B Palmeiro has hit nine home runs against Seattle this season. Palmeiro has 49 career homers against the Mariners, his most against any opponent. … INF Teixeira is 0-for-9 against RHP Meche. … SS Rodriguez leads the AL with 116 runs. He leads the majors with 43 HRs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 39-33 on the road; Rangers - 39-36 at home.
INJURIES: Mariners - INF Greg Colbrunn (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Rett Johnson (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Matt Thornton (elbow), 60-day DL. Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 60-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (back), 60-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 60-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL.