The Texas Rangers’ drive to a second straight AL West title hit a bump in the road at Safeco Field.
While the Seattle Mariners have long been eliminated from postseason contention, they’d like to make their division rival sweat a little bit.
Texas will try to avoid back-to-back losses to last-place Seattle on Saturday night.
After scoring 54 runs while wining five of their previous six, the Rangers were held to four hits in a 4-0 loss in Friday’s series opener. However, Texas (86-65) remained 3 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels, who were beaten 8-3 by Baltimore earlier in the night.
Manager Ron Washington’s team has 11 games left - one fewer than the Angels. The division, though, could ultimately be decided during the final three games of the regular season in Anaheim.
Blake Beavan(notes), acquired in July 2010 from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee(notes) trade, scattered four hits over eight innings for Seattle (63-87). The Mariners have won two straight from Texas, equaling the total from its first 12 head-to-head matchups.
“We were swinging at strikes, (but) couldn’t put the ball in play,” Washington said.
He’s faced the Mariners twice this year in Seattle, going 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA. He came within one out of a complete game on July 15, allowing four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in the Rangers’ 4-0 victory.
Lewis is 1-1 with a 3.92 ERA in his last four road starts, but has failed to get past the fifth inning in two of them.
Since beating Cleveland in his major league debut on Aug. 23, the left-hander has been reached for 17 runs - 12 earned - over 15 2-3 innings during his skid.
Vasquez is coming off a solid outing, surrendering two runs over six innings of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Kansas City.
“I’m able to take a lot of positives from this,” Vasquez said. “Being able to execute my pitches and keep a good rhythm to the game, a good tempo, throw a lot of strikes and stay ahead in the count.”
Texas is expected to have Nelson Cruz(notes) back in the lineup as the designated hitter. Limited to one at-bat since Aug. 28 due to strained left hamstring, Cruz is hitting .270 with 28 homers and a career-best 84 RBIs in 114 games.
He’s batting .314 (11 for 35) with three homers and six RBIs in 11 games against Seattle.