BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers took two of three games from the Seattle Mariners this weekend and have now won seven of their last nine games to crawl back into contention at least for a Wild Card playoff berth. It was their third straight series win and brought them to .500 for the year at 34-34.
The Rangers turned over 20% of their roster during the course of the series with Seattle. Tyson Ross was activated from the 60 day disabled list to be Friday’s starting pitcher. Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli were activated from the 10 day disabled list, and both started Friday’s game. Dario Alvarez was summoned from AAA, and he appeared in Friday’s game.
Friday’s game was the first all season where the Rangers reasonably had the roster that they envisioned before the season began at their disposal. It showed. Ross was fine, especially for his first Major League outing in more than 14 months. He allowed two runs on two hits, walking three and striking out five over 5-2/3rds innings.
The offense took charge of the game with five runs in the third. Adrian Beltre and Jonathan Lucroy each drove home two runs with singles. They added two more runs in the fourth inning to push the score to 7-1 en route to a 10-4 win. Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Gomez hit home runs.
Alvarez finished off Seattle when Ross departed in the sixth. Jose LeClerc was touched up for two runs in the seventh, but Alex Claudio shut out the Mariners over the eighth and ninth innings to wrap up the win.
On Saturday, Andrew Cashner was placed on the disabled list, replaced by Ernesto Frieri, who had been in the Ranger organization less than a week.
In Saturday’s game, the Rangers took charge early. After the first two Ranger batters of the game were retired, the team exploded for five straight hits, the last of which was a Mike Napoli home run. All five scored to hand the early lead to Martin Perez.
Seattle whittled away at the lead though scoring one in the third inning and three more in the fifth inning courtesy of a three run home run from Mike Zunino.
Not to worry The Rangers answered back with another five run inning, their third of the series. Rougned Odor led off with a solo shot, his 12th of the year, and Napoli followed with his second round tripper of the series. Shin-Soo Choo’s home run capped off the inning.
That made the score 10-4 after six innings, and three innings later, 10-4 was the final score for the second straight night.
The sweep however was not to be, no matter how favorable Sunday’s pitching matchup looked for the Rangers. Yu Darvish started for Texas, and he simply didn’t have it. He gave up four first inning runs, and one more over the five innings that he completed.
The Mariners banged around Dario Alvarez for two more runs in the seventh inning as they avoided the sweep with a 7-3 win.
At this point, the entire American League is in the hunt at least for a Wild Card spot. The Oakland A’s have the worst record in the American League despite sweeping the Yankees this weekend. They are just 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot.
Texas is one game out in the Wild Card race, and made up one game on Houston in the West Division this weekend, as the Astros lost two of three to Boston. The Rangers are still 11 games out of first place in the West.
Toronto comes to town next. The Jays are struggling as they scrambled for a win Sunday to avoid getting swept over the weekend by the White Sox. They are in town for four games beginning Monday night.
* Cole Hamels made his first minor league rehab start Friday night in Frisco. He allowed no runs on one hit over three innings, throwing 35 pitches. He then threw approximately 20 more pitches in the bullpen to finish off his night. His next rehab start is scheduled for Wednesday in Frisco’s 11:00 AM start.
* The Rangers lost Dillon Gee and Peter O’Brien this weekend. They were both designated for assignment. Gee was DFA’d on Friday to make room on the 40-man and 25-man rosters for Tyson Ross. He cleared waivers and rejected assignment to the minor leagues to become a free agent. O’Brien was DFA’d on Saturday to make room on the 30-man roster for Ernesto Frieri and was claimed on waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ryan Rua and Jurickson Profar were optioned to AAA Round Rock.