Hamels helps Rangers beat Mariners for fourth straight win
SEATTLE -- Cole Hamels was nearly untouchable for eight innings and Carlos Gomez returned to the starting lineup with a two-run double as the Texas Rangers defeated the Mariners 4-2 on Thursday, sweeping their three-game series at Safeco Field.
Texas (76-76) won its fourth straight and is tied with the Los Angeles Angels, 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the chase for the second American League wild card spot. Seattle (74-79) suffered its season-worst sixth straight loss and dropped five games out of the final playoff spot.
Hamels (11-4) gave up one run on three hits and two walks, striking out eight.
Gomez gave Hamels some run support early, touching Seattle southpaw James Paxton for two runs in the first inning to get Texas in front. With the way Hamels pitched, that was more than enough.
Texas got to the Mariners' relievers as well.
Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre added to the Rangers' tally with his 17th homer, a solo shot off Dan Altavilla in the sixth inning. Former Mariner Shin-Soo Choo chipped in with his 20th homer, a solo blast off Emilio Pagan in the seventh.
The Mariners finally got to the left-hander in the seventh inning when Nelson Cruz went deep for his 35th home run, a shot that cut the Rangers' lead to 4-1.
Robinson Cano added a solo homer in the ninth off Texas reliever Keone Kela, his 22nd home run of the season and 300th of his career.
Paxton (12-5) went 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits along with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 73 pitches in his second start since returning from a pectoral strain.
Kela earned his second save of the season for Texas.
Any Seattle hopes that Paxton would arrest the team's September slide got off to a rough start in the first inning. Choo, Elvis Andrus and Beltre rapped consecutive singles with one out, and Gomez cashed in with a two-out, two-run double that deflected off Kyle Seager at third base into foul territory.
NOTES: When OF Carlos Gomez doubled in the first inning, it was his second straight double since returning from a sprained ankle suffered on Sept. 9. He had a pinch-hit double Tuesday in the Rangers' 3-1 victory over Seattle. ... Texas DH Adrian Beltre, who is battling a strained hamstring, went 2-for-4 with a home run for his second multi-hit game of the series. ... Mariners RHP Dan Altavilla made his first appearance since getting hit in the ankle with a line drive Saturday in an 8-6 loss in Houston. He went two innings, allowing a run (Beltre's homer) and two hits with four strikeouts. ... In two starts since returning from a strained left pectoral, Seattle LHP James Paxton is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in five innings.