Rangers 10, Mariners 1

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SEATTLE (AP)—Rafael Palmeiro loves hitting at Safeco Field.

Palmeiro hit a grand slam and a three-run homer for a career-high seven RBIs to lead the Texas Rangers over the Seattle Mariners 10-1 Monday night.

“It’s a great place to play,” the Rangers slugger said. “For some reason, you know, there’s ballparks that you feel good in and there’s ballparks that you feel bad in. This is one of those ballparks that I happen to feel good in.”

With 514 homers, Palmeiro moved into 15th place on the career list, two ahead of Ernie Banks. Palmeiro hit a three-run homer off Ryan Franklin (7-9) in a four-run first, then hit his 11th career slam off Arthur Rhodes in the seventh. It was Palmeiro’s 32nd multihomer game, his second this season.

Palmeiro has the most homers (45) against the Mariners and the most (14) by an opposing player at Safeco. He had three homers and 11 RBIs in the series and has five homers and 16 RBIs against the Mariners this season. His seven RBIs were the most in a game for a Texas player this season.

Palmeiro’s first homer gave the Rangers a 4-0 lead, but he was more happy with his second.

“Arthur Rhodes is as good as they come,” he said. “It’s as good as it gets. I got a good pitch to hit and was able to hit it. I didn’t miss it. I didn’t foul it back. I hit it.”

Joaquin Benoit (6-5), pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his two-year major league career, didn’t allow a hit until Ichiro Suzuki singled to right leading off the sixth.

Benoit struck out seven in seven innings, allowing two hits and two walks. Randy Winn singled in the seventh for Seattle’s other hit off Benoit.

Benoit tried not to think about the no-hitter possibility.

“It was something that probably was in the back of my mind, but I usually get in trouble when I’m thinking about what’s going to happen,” he said.

Buck Showalter, Texas’ manager, said the 26-year-old Benoit might have a bright future with the Rangers.

“Tonight’s a good example of why we keep thinking and keep hoping that he might be a consistent pitcher for us,” Showalter said. “He certainly shows flashes like this. That was more than a flash tonight.”

Although the Mariners are 5-7 since the All-Star break and 10-14 in July, they remained three games ahead of Oakland because the Athletics lost to Anaheim 2-1 Monday night.

There have been a lot of trade rumors swirling in Seattle the past week, but the Mariners don’t think that has caused them to lose focus.

“That’s something that none of us can do anything about,” first baseman John Olerud said. “Everybody wants to go out and play well, and go out and have a good game. So I don’t get that feeling.”

Mariners general manager Pat Gillick isn’t talking about his possible trade plans, but there is speculation he wants to make a deal for another bat— perhaps a third baseman or a left fielder.

“I have no idea if they’re going to make a deal or not,” Olerud said. “Do I think we need to make a deal? No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve got a good ballclub right now the way it is.”

Hank Blalock hit his 17th homer and went 4-for-5 for Texas, which led 4-0 after four batters.

Michael Young reached on third baseman Willie Bloomquist’s fielding error, Blalock singled, Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI single and Palmeiro put a pitch into the right-field seats.

Texas made it 6-0 in the fifth on Blalock’s two-run homer off Franklin.

Pat Borders had an RBI double for Seattle in the eighth off Ron Mahay.

Notes

Palmeiro tied Juan Gonzalez for the most grand slams for the Rangers in franchise history. … Young was 8-for-19 in the series, raising his average to .324, and scored six runs. He went 2-for-5 for his 46th multihit game, second only to Suzuki, who has 49. … Franklin has allowed 26 homers, second-most in the majors. Anaheim’s Jarrod Washburn has yielded 27. … Suzuki threw out Donnie Sadler at the plate when he attempted to score from second on MarkTeixeira’s single to right in the ninth.

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