The best and worst teams in the division have split their first 10 meetings heading into Friday night's opener of a three-game set in Seattle.
Texas (52-34) has scored a major league-high 443 runs and Seattle (36-51) has 337 for the AL's second-worst total. The Mariners, however, have outscored the Rangers 57-42 in 2012.
Seattle has five players with at least six RBIs in the season series, led by Jesus Montero 's eight.
Texas has just three players who have reached that mark, with Josh Hamilton and Michael Young driving in seven runs apiece. Nelson Cruz has had a tough time getting untracked against Seattle, going 5 for 34 with 13 strikeouts.
Seattle is hoping to fix its offensive home woes after batting a major league-low .195 and hitting an AL-worst 21 homers while going 16-25 at Safeco Field.
"This is where we play," manager Eric Wedge said. "This is our home field. We're going to play here half the season and you just have to be accepting of that. It's a beautiful ballpark and anything that needs to be addressed will be addressed in the offseason in regard to the ballpark."
Hamilton is enjoying an MVP-caliber season as he leads the majors with 75 RBIs, a .635 slugging percentage and is tied with Toronto's Jose Bautista with 27 homers. The Rangers, who lead the Angels by four games in the West, feel they have room for improvement offensively with Cruz and Mike Napoli not enjoying stellar seasons.
"We haven't really busted out offensively, and we've been banged up on the pitching front," Young told the Rangers' official website. "At the same time, we've managed to push on and still win some games. That's the product of having a bunch of guys who have played together the last few years and learned how to win games."
Runs could be hard to come by for the Rangers on Friday versus Kevin Millwood (3-6, 3.69 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts against them this season. Texas is batting .177 against him with five extra-base hits, including the lone homer by Cruz.
The veteran right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts since beating the Rangers on May 23. Millwood was stellar in his last outing July 6 with seven scoreless innings in a 4-1, 11-inning defeat at Oakland.
The Mariners are 10-17 against left-handed starters, and they usually struggle versus Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05). That wasn't the case the last time they saw him, as he allowed eight runs over 1 2-3 innings in Seattle's 21-8 win in Texas on May 30.
Holland was 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his first seven starts against the Mariners.
He's allowed nine homers over his last 25 1-3 innings after yielding three over his first 47 2-3 of the season.
|July 06, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Lower back spasms|
|June 26, 2012||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal muscle|
|June 24, 2012||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Right forearm tendinitis|
|June 24, 2012||Matt Harrison||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hip soreness|
|June 20, 2012||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Intestinal virus|
|July 01, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 30, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Left Game-Head Injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 27, 2012||Kevin Millwood||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right groin|
|June 13, 2012||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Joe Nathan 's ninth inning was filled with elusive ground balls, screams to first baseman Michael Young , and, ultimately, an exhale after a strikeout.
Nathan allowed two earned runs in the bottom of the ninth, but prior work by Texas starter Derek Holland and third baseman Adrian Beltre allowed the Rangers to hang on for a 3-2 win Friday night against the Seattle Mariners .
The inning started quietly enough for Nathan. Jesus Montero grounded out to shortstop, continuing yet another woeful offensive night for the Mariners, who had just three hits up to that point.
Then Kyle Seager singled. Despite a pitch that broke his bat, Justin Smoak singled to the left side. Pinch-hitter John Jaso singled to right. Suddenly, the Mariners had the bases loaded and one out as Nathan teetered.
Michael Saunders hit a hard ground ball that hit Young in the shoulder and bounced well away from the first baseman. Seager scored and Smoak was on his way around before being held by third base coach Jeff Datz . Saunders sprinted around first and saw the stopped runners in front of him too late.
Nathan yelled to Young, who recovered to throw back to first from foul territory, enabling Nathan to tag out Saunders.
A wild pitch eventually scored Smoak and Nathan had to strike out Dustin Ackley with the bases loaded to finish his 19th save.
"I don't care if I give up eight runs in an inning, as long as we walk off with a W," Nathan said.
The frazzled ninth was preceded by the Rangers cruising behind Derek Holland .
Holland entered the game with a 5.05 ERA and only one scoreless start in 2012, which came over six innings at Baltimore on May 10.
Friday, he threw 7 2-3 innings, struck out four, walked two and didn't allow a run. Two of the four hits he gave up were to Casper Wells , and all were singles. Holland had thrown a previous high of 7 1-3 innings three times this season.
"I want to be the starter and the closer," Holland said.
Adrian Beltre 's 16th homer of the season came on a 1-0 pitch from Seattle starter Kevin Millwood in the sixth inning. It was Beltre's fourth career home run off the veteran and drove in Josh Hamilton , who had singled, to put the Rangers up 3-0.
Millwood (3-7) threw 6 2/3 innings, allowed three earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out four.
Ian Kinsler 's fifth-inning single to left produced an out and a run for Texas. Young scored from third, but catcher Mike Napoli , who had stolen his first base of the year earlier in the inning, was thrown out at the plate by Wells. That ended an inning helped along by Ackley dropping the transfer on a likely double play off Napoli's bat.
Napoli bruised his thigh on the slide and came out of the game after the eighth inning. Napoli likely won't catch the next two days.
The Mariners loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Holland wriggled free. Smoak put up a 10-pitch at-bat - which included a foul ball into the second deck about 15 feet left of the foul pole - before popping up to shortstop.
"I think that was a huge at-bat," Holland said.
Miguel Olivo then hit a flare into right field that Nelson Cruz charged to make a sliding catch.
Holland finished the erratic inning, he walked two and threw seven consecutive balls at one point, without allowing a run.
"That is kind of where we are right now," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "But, you can't give into the fight."
NOTES: Texas starter Colby Lewis threw a bullpen session Friday and is on track to start Wednesday. Lewis is working back from right forearm tendinitis which put him on the disabled list June 24. . Mariners OF Franklin Gutierrez (concussion) was cleared for non-baseball exercise Friday. Gutierrez was hit in the ear by a pick-off throw to first base June 28 and was placed on the seven-day disabled list. . Seattle failed to sign its eighth-round pick Nick Halamandaris by Friday's deadline, and he will return to Cal.