If last month the Texas Rangers had been hitting as well as they have the last two games, they may not be making offseason plans.
The Rangers look to win their third straight Saturday night when night they continue a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners.
Texas (87-73) was two games behind Boston for the AL wild card last month before injuries took a toll and the lineup struggled. The Rangers were shut out five times between Sept. 5-18 and held scoreless in two games by the Angels this week to fall out of playoff contention.
After their 13th shutout loss of the season Wednesday - in which Texas was held to just one hit - the Rangers have responded with 18 runs and 31 hits in back-to-back wins. They beat Seattle 7-4 on Friday, scoring three runs in the ninth.
The victory assured the Rangers of second place in the AL West for the second straight year behind Los Angeles. If Seattle had swept the series, the two would have been tied.
“It means everything. If you can’t get first, you want to finish second,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We certainly didn’t want to lose it and we certainly didn’t want to share it.”
Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings Friday, but Brandon McCarthy(notes) allowed three runs in the fourth and the Mariners took the lead the next inning. Michael Young(notes) tied it in the eighth on an RBI single and Taylor Teagarden(notes) hit a go-ahead RBI single before Elvis Andrus(notes) doubled home two runs in the ninth.
Seattle (83-77) had its three-game winning streak snapped. Ichiro Suzuki(notes) had his third hitless performance in six games while Ken Griffey Jr.(notes), possibly beginning his final series with the Mariners, was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.
Hunter has given up 14 runs in eight innings over his last two starts. After surviving a shaky outing to record a win at Oakland, the right-hander was unable to do the same against Los Angeles on Monday, allowing seven runs and seven hits in a season-low 2 1-3 innings of an 11-0 loss.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA against the Mariners this season. He tossed a six-hitter against them on Sept. 13 in a 7-2 victory.
This is Rowland-Smith’s first start against the Rangers. He has faced them seven times in relief, giving up three runs over 10 2-3 innings.