Mariners Keeping Pace

The Seattle Mariners have been on a tear at the plate recently, and Jose Guillen has been leading the way.

The Mariners hope their offense can stay hot Saturday as they continue a four-game road series with the Texas Rangers.

Seattle (73-53) has pounded out at least 10 hits in each of its last eight games, going 7-1 and outscoring opponents 56-34 over that span. Guillen has been the sparkplug, hitting safely in each of those games while batting .412 (14-for-34) with three homers and 11 RBIs.

He has two hits in each of his last four games and homered in his second straight contest in Friday's 4-2 win. Guillen also singled in the go-ahead run as the Mariners won for the 19th time in 26 games.

"I've gone through a lot since last year," said Guillen, who is coming off an injury-plagued 2006 season and also battled leg problems earlier this year. "It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to come back. I had to change the way I swing because I was so sore. But all the soreness is gone now."

Adrian Beltre also has been hot over the last eight games, batting .457 (16-for-35), and Raul Ibanez is 5-for-9 through two games of this series. Ichiro Suzuki, who leads the team with a .354 batting average, picked up three hits Friday for the second straight game and fourth time in six games.

The Mariners are one game behind the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels and lead the AL wild card race. They lead the majors with a .333 batting average in August.

The Rangers (56-72), meanwhile, have dropped two in a row after scoring 39 runs - including an AL-record 30 in the opener - in a doubleheader sweep at Baltimore on Wednesday.

Oddsmakers from have made Seattle -133 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 12 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Texas +120 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

David Murphy had a two-run homer Friday for Texas, which has managed only six runs in the series.

"It was a tough night," said starter Kevin Millwood, who was charged with the loss. "Those guys are swinging the bats as well as anybody I've seen all year. To hold them down and give us a chance felt pretty good."

The Rangers will try to bounce back against Seattle's Horacio Ramirez (8-4, 7.15 ERA), who is coming off his longest start of the season. The left-hander, who may have been pitching to keep his spot in the rotation, responded by going 7 1-3 innings, allowing four runs in a 9-4 win in Minnesota.

Ramirez, who had given up 17 runs in 14 innings over his previous three starts, managed to create a greater differential in the speed of his pitches and also had a more consistent release point after tweaking his windup.

"It's a game of adjustments and today I definitely made an adjustment. Hopefully it's a beginning of a run for me," Ramirez said.

Ramirez improved to 2-3 on the road, but owns an 11.57 ERA in seven starts away from home.

He had never faced Texas before this season, going 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA in two starts against the Rangers in 2007. Ramirez was pounded for a career high-tying eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings in an 8-7 loss at Texas on July 23.

Sammy Sosa is 5-for-11 (.455) with a pair of homers all-time against Ramirez.

Texas counters with Jamey Wright (3-5, 4.11), who has not started since July 27, when he allowed five runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-1 loss in Kansas City. He has made three relief appearances since then, giving up four runs - two earned - in nine total innings.

The Rangers needed a starter after Wednesday's doubleheader. Wright was bumped from the rotation when the Rangers acquired Kason Gabbard from Boston on July 31.

He is 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners. Guillen is 6-for-19 (.316) with one homer all-time against Wright.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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