Rangers 7, Mariners 3

Preview | Box Score | Recap

SEATTLE (AP)—The Seattle Mariners are starting to feel the pressure of a pennant race.

Michael Young had four hits and John Thomson pitched eight solid innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 7-3 on Sunday.

Seattle’s lead over Oakland in the AL West was cut to three games, the closest the Athletics have been since May 27. The Mariners have been in sole possession of the division lead since May 16—they had an eight-game lead on June 13.

The Mariners acknowledge they’ve been looking over their shoulders for the A’s all season.

“They’re going to play good ball because of the pitching staff they’ve got,” Mike Cameron said. “That’s the reason why they’re still in the thing right now. They are a pretty good team. It’s the West, man.”

The Mariners are 5-6 since the All-Star break and 10-13 in July.

“I don’t think anybody thought any different,” Seattle’s Bret Boone said. “We didn’t think they were going to go away, not with that pitching staff over there. But if we play our game, I like our chances.”

Rafael Palmeiro and Hank Blalock each drove in two runs for the Rangers. Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 28th birthday by going 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored. Young also scored twice.

Randy Winn drove in all of Seattle’s runs with a two-run homer in the second and an RBI single in the third.

Thomson (8-10) gave up three runs on eight hits and five walks, striking out seven. His five walks tied a career high, but he leads the team in wins.

The right-hander matched his career high for victories set with Colorado in 1998.

“John was outstanding,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s good to see him give up a curveball home run to Winn and not shelve the curveball. It was a big pitch for him as the game went on.”

Francisco Cordero struck out the side in the ninth. The Rangers had 13 hits after getting shut out by Joel Pineiro on Saturday.

Palmeiro got his 1,637th RBI with a single in the ninth. That pushed him past Ernie Banks for 19th place on the career list.

Two-time All-Star Freddy Garcia (9-10) lost his fourth straight decision. In 5 2-3 innings, he allowed six runs—five earned—on 10 hits and two walks.

Garcia, who hasn’t won since June 24, has a 5.17 ERA. In July, he is 0-4 with a 9.45 ERA after being the AL pitcher of the month in June with a 5-0 record and a 2.05 ERA.

His roller-coaster season began with a 3-6 start.

“He’s been through a couple spurts like this,” Mariners manager Bob Melvin said. “He had the one bad run there and then turned it around with a great run. I look for him next time to make the adjustment and start on a roll.”

The Rangers opened the third with five consecutive hits and scored five times to take a 5-2 lead.

Blalock and Palmeiro had RBI singles, Mark Teixeira added a sacrifice fly and Jason Jones had an RBI grounder. The fifth run came on shortstop Carlos Guillen’s throwing error.

The Rangers got another run in the sixth on Blalock’s RBI double.

Texas’ unearned run was first given up by Seattle since July 6 and only the third in 54 games allowed by the Mariners. They lead the majors with the fewest unearned runs, 17.

Guillen committed two errors, giving the Mariners 38 for the season, fewest in the majors.

“It wasn’t one of our crisper games,” Melvin said. “I think when we play a game like that it’s a little more magnified because we usually don’t kick it or throw it around, and we did today.”

The trade deadline is Thursday, and there has been speculation that the Mariners might be ready to make a major deal in an effort to boost their offense.

Winn, their starting left fielder, has been the subject of some trade rumors. He came to Seattle in October in a deal that allowed Lou Piniella to leave the Mariners, whom he managed for 10 seasons, with one year left on his contract.

“I don’t think Randy’s worried about it,” Boone said. “As of now, we gowith the guys we’ve got.”

Notes

Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki will make a rehabilitation start Monday night at Triple-A Tacoma and probably pitch two innings, manager Bob Melvin said. Sasaki struck out the side Saturday night for Tacoma in his first rehab start. Sasaki has been on the disabled list since June 6 with two fractured ribs and a slightly torn abdominal muscle. … The Mariners reached 2 million (2,052,396) in attendance with their 15th sellout crowd of the season, 45,355. The Mariners are on a pace to draw more than 3 million fans at Safeco Field forthe fourth year in a row.

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