The Texas Rangers look to continue their late push toward a postseason berth when they visit the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday for the middle contest of their critical three-game set. Texas passed Seattle in the American League wild-card standings on Tuesday, posting a 3-1 victory in the series opener to move one-half game ahead of the Mariners and climb within 3 1/2 of Minnesota for the second spot with 12 left on its schedule.
The Rangers rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to snap a tie and even their mark on their nine-game road trip at 2-2, with Shin-Soo Choo lifting a sacrifice fly and Elvis Andrus following with an RBI single. Seattle trails the Twins by four games with 11 remaining as its losing streak reached four contests. The Mariners managed only six hits in the setback, with the bottom-third of the lineup collecting four while driving in and scoring their lone run. Guillermo Heredia went 2-for-4 as Seattle kicked off a six-game trek - its final homestand of the season.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Andrew Cashner (9-10, 3.40 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (5-4, 4.19)
Cashner looks to avenge a horrid outing against Seattle on Thursday, when he had his five-start unbeaten stretch halted after being battered for five runs on six hits and five walks over 4 1/3 innings. The 31-year-old Texan recorded only two wins during his streak but had allowed fewer than three earned runs in seven of his previous eight turns prior to the loss to the Mariners. The setback dropped Cashner to 1-4 with a 3.98 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) versus Seattle, including a 1-2 record and 4.16 ERA in four turns this season.
Hernandez will be making his second start since his latest stint on the disabled list and third in a row against the Rangers. Both of those outings took place in Texas, where the 31-year-old Venezuelan allowed one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings on Thursday while throwing only 54 pitches. Hernandez is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA in three turns versus the Rangers this year but owns a 19-23 record and 3.92 ERA in 53 career starts.
1. The Mariners are winless since capturing the final three contests of their four-game set at Texas from Sept. 11-14.
2. Texas DH Adrian Beltre has gone 4-for-8 over his last two games after an 0-for-7 performance over the first two contests on its trek.
3. Seattle RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder), who hasn’t pitched since May 3, has been ruled out for the season by manager Scott Servais.
PREDICTION: Mariners 5, Rangers 4