The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over 6 2-3 innings to continue an impressive late-season surge, and Raul Ibanez homered as the Mariners eliminated the Texas Rangers from the AL West race with a 6-3 victory Wednesday night.
Baek (4-1) struck out five and walked one, beating the Rangers for the second time since he was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Aug. 22. The native of South Korea allowed four hits over seven shutout innings in a 7-2 win over Texas on Sept. 8.
“I think most everybody here is looking for a job,” Baek said. “I can just focus on each game, not for next year.”
Baek, who made his 11th major league start, has pitched at least into the sixth in all of his victories this season.
Manager Mike Hargrove has been impressed with Baek’s success against the Rangers.
“He hit his spots and kept the ball away from the middle of the plate against a good-hitting ball club,” Hargrove said. “But the key is pitching inside to some good hitters.”
J.J. Putz got the last three outs for his 34th save.
Yuniesky Betancourt had three hits for the Mariners, who won two of three from the Rangers. Before that series, Seattle had lost 18 of its previous 24 games at Texas.
“We haven’t had much success (in Texas) since I’ve been here,” Ibanez said. “Winning games here haven’t come easy.”
Texas had already been eliminated from wild-card contention, leaving the Rangers with little to play for the rest of the way.
“It’s disappointing,” Texas’ Mark DeRosa said. “But you play for your own pride. Only eight teams go to the playoffs. You have to bear down and take pride in your work.”
“It means a lot,” Young said of matching the record. “It’s always been my game, driving balls into the gap. Home runs for me are accidents.”
Rangers rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler’s two fielding errors led to three runs.
“Ian’s been good defensively,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He got a couple of tough in-between hops.”
The Mariners made it 3-0 in the third on Kinsler’s two-run fielding error. Johjima singled, went to third on Richie Sexson’s double, and they both scored when Kinsler booted Ben Broussard’s ground ball.
In the fifth, Ibanez led off with his career-high 28th homer and Betancourt hit a two-out double. Betancourt scored when Kinsler threw late to first on Jose Lopez’s grounder, making it 5-0.
Baek hit Gerald Laird with a pitch in the fifth and Cruz followed with his fifth homer to make it 5-2.
Lopez’s RBI single in the seventh stretched Seattle’s lead to 6-2 and Hank Blalock made it 6-3 in the ninth with an RBI-single.
Tejeda allowed five runs—two earned—and eight hits in five innings.
Baek is 3-0 lifetime against Texas. … The Rangers finished 7-3 at home against the Mariners. … Texas’ Gary Matthews Jr. went 0-for-4 to end his career-best 13-game hitting streak. … Tejeda won three of his previous four decisions. … Seattle’s Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … The Rangers fell to 38-40 at home.