The Texas Rangers have swept the first three doubleheaders they’ve played this season, and another one is exactly what they need.
Texas (79-61) lost 8-3 in Saturday’s series opener after Friday’s game was rained out, forcing this doubleheader. The Rangers dropped three games behind AL wild-card leader Boston.
“We are still a confident team,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “You have to take the good with the bad.”
Suzuki had two hits, including his ninth homer, to bring his major-league leading total to 198. A ninth straight 200-hit campaign will break the mark he shares with Willie Keeler, who had eight consecutive 200-hit seasons from 1984-1901.
“Ichiro was unbelievable,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We talked about him feeling anxiety, but he didn’t look like it tonight.”
The star right fielder has 241 career hits against the Rangers for his highest total against any club. Suzuki is 2 for 6 against Tommy Hunter(notes) (7-3, 3.47 ERA), who will start the first game for Texas, and 2 for 8 versus Derek Holland(notes) (7-10, 5.93), who will be on the hill in the nightcap.
Seattle (72-69) snapped a five-game skid Saturday when Ken Griffey Jr.(notes), Franklin Gutierrez(notes) and Jack Hannahan(notes) each had two RBIs. Griffey had three hits to break out of a 1-for-19 slump over his previous seven games.
Hunter is 5-1 with a 3.75 ERA in his last six home starts, but the defeat came to Seattle Aug. 1 when he yielded five runs over five innings in a 7-2 loss.
The right-hander fell to 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts this year against the Mariners. Hunter did not get a decision Tuesday at Cleveland after giving up five runs over 5 1-3 innings in an 11-9 loss.
Doug Fister(notes) (2-1, 2.79) will start for Seattle in the first game after two straight solid outings. The rookie yielded one run over 7 1-3 innings Sept. 1 to record a 2-1 victory over the Angels and followed that up by allowing one run over five innings and not receiving a decision last Sunday at Oakland in a 5-2 loss.
Fister left Sunday’s game with a blister, according to Wakamatsu. The right-hander does not expect it to be an issue as he faces Texas for the first time.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez(notes) (14-5, 2.61) will pitch in the second game against the team he has faced the most in his career. Hernandez is 6-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 20 career starts against the Rangers, including 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA this year.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last three outings. He yielded two runs over seven innings in a 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Angels on Tuesday.
Holland will oppose Hernandez and try to avoid losing a fourth straight start. Holland fell to 0-3 with a 16.05 ERA in his last three outings after surrendering six runs over 3 1-3 innings last Sunday in a 7-0 loss at Baltimore.
The left-hander fell one out shy of his first career complete game July 30 against Seattle when he struck out 10 and yielded one run and two hits in a 7-1 victory.