Leake helps pitch Mariners past Rangers, 8-1
ARLINGTON, Texas -- If the Seattle Mariners play beyond the regular season, they will have Mike Leake to thank for doing his part.
Leake remained perfect since coming to Seattle as the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 in a crucial battle in the American League wild-card race Wednesday night at Globe Life Ballpark.
The Mariners (73-73) climbed back to .500 with their second consecutive win and inched ahead of the Rangers (72-73) in the logjam of clubs trying to run down the second AL wild card.
Seattle was three games behind Minnesota, and Texas was 3 1/2 back pending the Twins' late result Wednesday.
Mike Zunino hit two home runs to run his season total to 23, and Jean Segura clubbed another for the Mariners, who took a 3-0 lead in the fifth. Seattle added five runs in the seventh to put the game away.
Leake (10-12 overall) improved to 3-0 since coming to the Mariners in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in late August. The 29-year-old right-hander went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run and five hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Rangers starter Martin Perez (12-11) saw his career-high streak of winning seven consecutive starts end after leaving with one out in the sixth and trailing 3-0.
The five runs in the seventh were charged to Texas relievers Matt Bush and Jake Diekman.
Leake keep the Rangers off the scoreboard until the sixth. Elvis Andrus reached on a one-out double and scored on a two-out single to left by Robinson Chirinos.
Leake's evening was over at that point, with left-hander James Pazos coming in to face pinch hitter Adrian Beltre. It was Beltre's first appearance since straining his left hamstring on Aug. 31.
Beltre flied out to center.
The Rangers didn't manage a hit against four Mariners relievers -- Pazos, Emilio Pagan, Marc Rzepczynski and Edwin Diaz.
Perez cruised through the first four innings, holding the Mariners scoreless on one hit. The shutout ended in the fifth when Zunino crushed a breaking ball into the left field club seats.
Seattle wasn't done. Segura followed later in the inning with a two-run shot to left to make it 3-0. It was his 10th home run of the season.
NOTES: Seattle C Mike Zunino had his sixth career multi-homer game, three coming this season. ... Texas 1B Mike Napoli (stress reaction lower right leg) did not play Wednesday. ... Seattle will start LHP Ariel Miranda or RHP Andrew Moore on Sunday at Houston. ... Rangers C Robinson Chirinos has reached base safely in 27 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. ... The Mariners improved to 10-5 against Texas, clinching the season series with four games to go. ... Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey was part of the first-pitch ceremony in conjunction with his Just Keep Livin Foundation.