Rangers 10, Mariners 2

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Rod Barajas has suddenly become a power hitter. Ryan Drese is keeping opposing hitters off balance with his sinker.

And the Texas Rangers are back in first place in the AL West.

Drese (4-4), who wasn’t even on the major league roster to start the season, allowed four hits over eight innings to match the longest outing in 51 career starts, and Texas beat the Seattle Mariners 10-2 Tuesday night.

“He’s been pretty good, that goes without saying,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He kept pounding the strike zone. He’s giving himself a chance to be effective … pretty impressive.”

The Rangers won their fourth straight and are first in the AL West at the latest point in a season since 1999—when they won their last division title. Seattle had won four straight and 10 of 14, but is 9 1/2 games back in last place.

“We all realize it,” Drese said. “We understand that we’re on a roll and we want to keep it going.”

Barajas homered for the third straight game, an unexpected offensive surge for the catcher who only became the starter after rookie catcher Gerald Laird tore a ligament in his left thumb last month.

It was the 10th homer in 34 games for Barajas, who has started 19 of 27 games since Laird’s injury. Barajas had just 11 homers in 211 games over the past five seasons with Arizona.

“Having the opportunity to perform every single day is something I’ve always wished and hoped I would get,” Barajas said. “It helps when you’re able to see regular pitching day-in and day-out.”

David Dellucci snapped a 1-for-35 slump with two hits, including an RBI double that started the scoring in the Rangers’ six-run sixth.

Texas, which swept Seattle in a three-game home series in April, went ahead to stay on Mark Teixeira’s two-run single in the first off Clint Nageotte (1-3).

Barajas homered in the second for a 3-0 lead, and also had a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Not only is he getting consistent at-bats, he’s gotten power by using the lower half of his body.

“I’ve never used that before. I’ve always used an upper-body swing to hit the ball,” said Barajas, who has a six-game hitting streak. “Now I’m able to use both together and be more consistent hitting the ball. It’s working in motion together and things are going pretty well.”

Nageotte had allowed just two earned runs over 11 innings in his first two major league starts. But he had already given up Dellucci’s double when he left with no outs and the bases loaded in the fifth.

“I put myself in a little bit of trouble, and you can’t do that here,” Nageotte said. “They’re in first place, and there’s a reason they’re in first place.”

Barajas’ sacrifice fly greeted reliever J.J. Putz. Jason Conti then singled to reload the bases before Michael Young tripled into the right-field corner. Hank Blalock singled Young home.

Nageotte allowed seven runs on eight hits. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out five and walked four.

Drese faced the minimum number of hitters until Ichiro Suzuki’s two-out single in the fourth. After Randy Winn led off the game with a walk, he was erased by a double play when Teixeira snagged Scott Spiezio’s liner and stepped back on first base.

Since being recalled the second week of the season, Drese has a 3.63 ERA in 14 appearances. He has a 2.18 ERA at home, allowing just 11 earned runs over 45 1-3 innings.

“He used all of his pitches well. He gave me some pitches to hit and I missed them,” Spiezio said. “He had a sink on the ball … and had a little cutter he used effectively.”

Pat Borders led off Seattle’s sixth with a double and scored on Spiezio’sgroundout. John Olerud hit his fourth homer in the seventh.

Notes

Dellucci grounded into a double play to end the first and stretch his hitless streak to 14 at-bats. He then had a fourth-inning single before his double. … Texas has homered in 13 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, and the Rangers’ longest since their major league-record 27 in a row in 2002. … Seattle has a winning record in just two AL cities: 100-91 in Arlington and 20-10 in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Devil Rays. … DougBrocail pitched the ninth for Texas.

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