The Rangers (58-58) look to continue their strong play against the Mariners (56-58) at Ameriquest Field when the AL West rivals continue a four-game series on Friday.
Texas scored all of its runs in the sixth and seventh innings of an 8-2 victory Thursday. The Rangers are 27-30 at home this season, but are 3-1 there against the Mariners and also have won 27 of the last 37 home meetings between the teams.
“We definitely have to play better at home,” Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. “We are too good of a team to not be taking advantage of our home ballpark.”
Young did his part Thursday, going 3-for-5 including a three-run double in the seventh inning. He is hitting .778 (7-for-9) with 18 RBIs with the bases loaded this season and .429 (12-for-28) overall against the Mariners.
“One of the keys (with the bases loaded) is, mentally, you realize that they are the one’s in the pickle, not you,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “You take the emotion out of the at-bat like Mike does so well.
“It’s like he’s playing wiffle ball in the backyard. That’s key to being able to thrive in those things.”
Mark Teixeira also had a three-run double in the victory and has reached base safely in 34 consecutive games. The Rangers are in third place in the AL West, trailing first-place Oakland by five games and hold a one-game lead over last-place Seattle.
Kip Wells (1-0, 1.80 ERA) makes his second start for the Rangers since being acquired from Pittsburgh at the July 31 trade deadline. The right-hander won his first outing with his new team, limiting Minnesota to one run and seven hits over five innings in a 10-2 victory on August 2.
Wells, who led the majors with 18 losses in 2005 and missed the start of this season after surgery to repair a blocked artery near his right shoulder, was scratched from Monday’s start with inflammation in his surgically repaired shoulder.
“He’s not so removed from 100 or more pitches,” Showalter said. “He’s passed every test we have administered to alleviate any doubt. I think Seattle will have something to say about him being ready.”
Wells is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two career relief appearances against the Mariners, but has not faced them since 2001 when he was with the Chicago White Sox.
He will be opposed by Gil Meche (9-6, 4.35), who struggled in his last outing versus the Rangers. The right-hander allowed six runs, nine hits and a season-high five walks over 5 1-3 innings of a 6-4 defeat to Texas on May 30.
He is 4-6 with a 6.60 ERA in 12 career appearances versus the Rangers, including 11 starts. Meche was tagged for six runs—four earned—and eight hits over five innings in a 7-6 loss to Oakland on Sunday.
“For the first 5 1-3 innings, we felt we were in control of the game,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “Then the roof caved in.”