Texas (87-72) at Seattle (62-97)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 50° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Oct 1, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Just one hit away from matching George Sisler’s all-time single-season record for hits, Ichiro Suzuki has the Seattle Mariners playing their most inspired baseball of a disappointing season.

He’ll continue hitting his way toward history when the Mariners open a season-ending three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.

While the Mariners need just one victory this weekend to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1983, they’ve made the most of their role as spoilers down the stretch. Seattle has won six of its last nine games, winning a pair against playoff contenders Texas, Anaheim and Oakland during that stretch.

“In a year that has been absolutely miserable for us, at least we are finishing on a positive note,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re playing like we have nothing to lose.”

Suzuki went 1-for-5 in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Athletics, pulling within a single hit of the 257 Sisler put up in 1920 for the St. Louis Browns. The All-Star outfielder is riding a 10-game hitting streak into the final weekend.

“I want to finish the season strong in Seattle and have no regrets,” said Suzuki.

The weekend will also serve as a farewell for Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who will retire at the end of the season.

“The year has been so tough on all of us, so this weekend will be nice,” said second baseman Bret Boone. “It’s going to be sad. I have to speak (about Martinez), and I hope I hold it together.”

The Rangers stayed in the playoff race until an 11-inning, 8-7 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday night. After finishing last in the AL West in each of the previous four seasons, Texas clearly has built a solid foundation for the future.

The Rangers also played spoiler Thursday, beating the Angels 6-4 to drop them into a tie with the A’s for first place. Oakland and Anaheim will play a three-game series this weekend to decide the division crown.

“It just felt nice to win. We hadn’t been playing our best ball of late,” shortstop Michael Young said after the Rangers averted a four-game sweep against the Angels. “It may be a little too late as far as the postseason is concerned, it doesn’t mean we don’t want to finish strong and have pride in the way we play.”

The Rangers were within two games of the division lead after sweeping three from Oakland last week. But they lost five of six, including four in a row, before Thursday’s victory.

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R. Drese Hou vs. R. Villone Was
14-10 Record 8-6
4.20 ERA 4.08
98 K 86
58 BB 64
1.40 WHIP 1.42