Though hitting has been a season-long problem for the Seattle Mariners , they've done enough to give the AL West leaders fits lately.
The Rangers look to get back on track Monday night in the opener of a three-game road set with struggling Seattle, which has won five of the last seven meetings.
Texas (75-55) averaged 9.0 runs while winning five of six, but it went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position while dropping the final two of its three-game series with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend.
Jeff Baker 's two-run homer was all it could muster in Sunday's 5-2 defeat, and the Rangers will look to bounce back against a Mariners team that took two of three when these clubs met Aug. 16-18.
Texas, which hadn't lost consecutive games since a four-game skid from July 25-28 prior to Sunday, won seven of the first nine matchups this season, but Seattle has gotten the better of the recent meetings.
"More like a pain in my side," said Washington, whose club leads Oakland by 2 1/2 games atop the West. "They've always played us tough. Not just this year, they've always played us tough. It's just one team that plays us tough and they've got pitching to go along with that."
Seattle won the most recent meeting 4-3 as Kyle Seager hit a tiebreaking double in the top of the ninth. He's hitting .409 with four homers and 11 doubles versus Texas.
"You throw balls in the dirt, he hits them," Washington told the team's official website. "You throw them over his head, he hits them. I might have to walk him."
Seager, though, is just 2 for 23 with eight strikeouts over his last six after going 0 for 4 in Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels . The Mariners (59-70) were outscored 14-2 during the three-game sweep, giving manager Eric Wedge a rude welcome back."Not a great re-entry for myself here," Wedge said.
Seattle's .242 team average ranks 13th in the AL, and it will face Rangers starter Travis Blackley on Monday as he makes his second start of the season.
Blackley (1-1, 4.85 ERA), acquired from Houston on Aug. 14, made his first start Tuesday after 42 relief appearances with the Astros. He gave up two runs and three hits in four innings of a 4-2 win over Houston.
The left-hander was called up from Triple-A to replace Alexi Ogando , who is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation."He did a good job," Washington said. "He did what he needed to do, keep us in the game."
Blackley, who began his major league career with Seattle in 2004, has a 1.98 ERA in one start and four relief appearances against his former team, which counters with Joe Saunders .
Saunders (10-12, 4.91) has struggled over the last month, going 1-4 with a 7.42 ERA in six starts while allowing 65 baserunners in 30 1-3 innings. He allowed four runs, 10 hits and three walks in six innings of Seattle's 7-4 win over Oakland on Tuesday.
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts against Texas this season, though he gave up two runs - one earned - in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-2 win July 2. He went 0-6 with an 8.91 ERA in his previous seven outings versus the Rangers.
|August 25, 2013||Leonys Martin||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Matt West||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|August 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 26, 2013||Mike Zunino||15-Day DL||Fractured left hamate bone|
|July 11, 2013||Nick Franklin||Day-to-Day||Left game - knee soreness|
|July 11, 2013||Endy Chavez||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin tightness|
|June 29, 2013||Dustin Ackley||Day-to-Day||Left game - thumb|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
SEATTLE (AP) -- When August started, Travis Blackley was a reliever on the worst team in the majors. Now he's starting for the AL West leaders.
Blackley pitched six effective innings and A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer, leading the Texas Rangers to an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
It was Blackley's first win since he was acquired in a trade with Houston on Aug. 14.
"It's a good feeling," Blackley said. "I'm really excited about the rest of the way."
Alex Rios had two hits and two RBIs as the Rangers picked up their fifth win in seven games. Elvis Andrus celebrated his 25th birthday with three hits and an RBI.
It was more than enough run support for Blackley (2-1), who allowed three runs and five hits in his second start of the season.
"With all the injuries we've had, especially pitching injuries, anyone we can get that can come in and give us six innings and a quality start and give us a chance, that's an added bonus," Pierzynski said. "We've had a bunch of guys step in kind of from out of nowhere and done some good things for us."
Kyle Seager hit his 20th home run of the season for the Mariners, who have lost four in a row.
It was Blackley's longest outing since Oct. 2, 2012, after making 42 relief appearances for Houston this season. He had a similar experience last year, when he joined Oakland mid-season and made 15 starts for the A's during their playoff run.
"Coming back here with another chase and another go at the postseason, a little older and I've been through it - it's really not as hard when you've got this team behind you," Blackley said. "They play so well and they score a lot of runs most of the time."
Blackley was designated for assignment by Houston on Aug. 9. He was sent to Triple-A Round Rock after the trade, but he came up when right-hander Alexi Ogando went on the disabled list.
"I don't know what the Astros were thinking, I think they just wanted to try out young guys. I wasn't having the best season in that role, but it was a blessing in disguise," Blackley said. "I wanted to start all year and they didn't have a spot for me to do that, and a spot opened up here, picked me up and I'm trying to run with it."
It was a much different night for Seattle starter Joe Saunders (10-13), who turned in another sluggish outing. The left-hander allowed seven runs and nine hits in seven innings to fall to 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA in his last seven starts.
"It was one of those weird nights where I thought I pitched better than the results," Saunders said. "I've just been having some bad luck."
The Rangers led 4-3 before Pierzynski hit a drive to right after Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked with two out and a runner on second in the seventh. It was Pierzynski's 15th homer in his first season with Texas.
Mitch Moreland added his 19th homer in the eighth, giving the Rangers an 8-3 lead.
Saunders got off to a slow start, and the Rangers took advantage. Saunders hit Craig Gentry leading off the game and Andrus followed with a single. The runners moved up on Ian Kinsler 's sacrifice before Beltre was walked intentionally to load the bases.
After Pierzynski bounced into a fielder's choice, Rios singled to center to lift Texas to a 2-0 lead.
The Mariners rallied in the third on Brad Miller 's tying two-run single. Seager hit a drive to right with one out in the fourth, but that was all for Seattle.
NOTES: Before the game, the Mariners activated OF Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list and designated RHP Aaron Harang for assignment. ... Rangers OF Leonys Martin (sprained right ankle) was out of the lineup for the second straight game.