Texas (60-58) and Seattle began this series vying for last place in the AL West. The Rangers, though, have collected 40 hits in first three games of the series. The Rangers are one-half game behind the second-place Los Angeles Angels, and three games ahead of the last-place Mariners.
Seattle (56-60) has lost nine of its last 10 games at Texas and are trying to avoid being swept in a four-game set at Ameriquest Field for the second straight year.
The Rangers are seeking their first five-game winning streak since a six-game run from April 29-May 4.
Gary Matthews Jr. and Gerald Laird each homered as Texas built a five-run lead before holding on for a 5-4 victory on Saturday. Closer Akinori Otsuka pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 23rd save and has not allowed a run in eight career appearances against the Mariners.
“This is what we’re supposed to be doing,” Laird said.
Seattle, 2-7 against Texas this year, has lost 12 straight games to AL West foes since a 6-2 victory over the Angels on June 11.
“We squared up a lot of baseballs and they just made the plays,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “Our guys battled all night, it just didn’t happen.”
Rangers shortstop Michael Young went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in the first inning on Saturday. He’s hitting .405 (15-for-37) with seven runs against Seattle this year.
Texas starter Kevin Millwood (10-8, 4.74 ERA) is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA over his last four starts—his longest winless stretch of the season. Millwood gave up five runs and six hits over six innings in a 7-6 loss to Oakland on Tuesday.
“I was all over the place,” Millwood said of his first loss in six career starts versus the A’s. “It’s real disappointing because we’re in the thick of things and we can’t get the job done.”
The right-hander has failed to pitch past the sixth inning in his last three home starts, going 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA. He’s winless in his last four home starts, and is just 3-6 with a 6.28 ERA in 12 appearances there this year.
Millwood earned a win over Seattle on May 30 after yielding four runs and nine hits through six innings of a 6-4 win. He’s 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA in five career starts against Seattle.
Seattle right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is 1-for-14 in this series and hitting just .132 (7-for-53) over his last 12 games. Suzuki is 6-for-15 in his career against Millwood.
Rookie Felix Hernandez (10-9, 4.29) looks to continue his strong second-half pitching for Seattle. Since the All-Star break, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five starts.
He lasted eight innings Tuesday against Tampa Bay—his longest outing since June 11—and gave up a run and five hits, but didn’t get a decision in a 5-1 victory.
“It was a good game on both sides. I was really proud of it,” said Hernandez, who is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts against the Rangers this season.