"Any loss at this point is a tough loss," shortstop Michael
Young said. "We realize this loss is not the end of the season,
but it does make it tougher on us."The Rangers started their final homestand with a three-game
sweep of AL West-leading Oakland, against the starting trio of Mark
Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. They got within two games, but
missed out on a chance to possibly get closer by losing two of
three to Seattle.A come-from-behind victory Saturday night got Texas (86-69)
within two games. The Athletics (88-66) played Sunday night at
Anaheim (86-68), which starts a four-game series in Texas on
Monday.A surprise contender after four straight last-place finishes,
the Rangers end the regular season next weekend at Seattle."What's shorter than a sprint? A dash. How about a leap?"
manager Buck Showalter said. "There is still an opportunity for us
if we keep grinding."Ichiro Suzuki moved within six of the season hits record, going
1-for-4 with an intentional walk. His sixth-inning single raised
his total to 251 with seven games remaining to reach the record of
257, set by George Sisler in 1920.Baek (2-4) allowed just three hits in eight innings, and
Atchison pitched a perfect ninth to complete Seattle's seventh
shutout of the season."To shut out this team in this ballpark is impressive. It's
about as good as it gets," Mariners manager Bob Melvin said.
"It's nice to do this in a playoff-type atmosphere. It's not like
this makes our season. We're just trying to go out there and win
games."The Mariners are trying to avoid 100 losses just three years
after winning 116.No. 9 hitter Jose Lopez with 2-for-3 with four RBI for the
Mariners (60-95), who also took two of three from Anaheim to win
consecutive series for the first time since the first week of May.Ryan Drese (14-9) had won his three previous starts and had a
2.87 ERA at home but gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3
innings."My ball was just flat as an arrow. My off-speed pitches were
up in the zone," Drese said.
Baek threw 114 pitches in just his fifth major league start,
escaping a two-on jam in the eighth when he threw a called third
strike past Hank Blalock.A two-run double by Lopez in the second came just two pitches
after a disputed call that would've ended the inning.Raul Ibanez, whose team-record streak of nine straight hits
ended Saturday night, led off the second with his 16th homer for a
1-0 lead.Bret Boone and Jeremy Reed followed with consecutive singles,
and Miguel Olivo popped out on an attempted bunt. Greg Dobbs then
hit a grounder and was ruled safe by first-base umpire Ed Montague,
avoiding an inning-ending double play.Showalter and Drese, who was covering first, argued the call.
Replays showed that Dobbs may have been out."It didn't change the fact that we had a chance to get out of
that," Drese said. "I hung a slider. That was a stupid pitch in
that situation."Lopez hit the pitch deep to left to for a two-run double, and
scored on Randy Winn's double for a 4-0 lead.Montague left the game before the start of the fifth because of
elevated blood pressure. Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin said
Montague was taken to Arlington Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released.Olivo stopped an 0-for-31 slump with a leadoff single in the
fourth, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lopez. Ibanzez added a
double in the fifth and scored on Boone's single that made it 6-0,
chasing Drese.Lopez added an RBI single in the eighth off Travis Hughes, the
second Texas pitcher to make his major league debut in the game.
Kameron Loe went 2 2/3 innings, allowing only Suzuki's single.Laynce Nix had two of Texas' hits, including a one-out triple in
the third."We're not deflated," Young said. "We're a good team and
we've got some good baseball in us. September baseball ... this is
fun for us."
Suzuki has 215 singles, a major league record. ... Hughes
was the 52nd player used by the Rangers this season, tying a team
record. They've used a team-record 30 pitchers. ... Mariners DH
Edgar Martinez, who is retiring, got a nice ovation when he was
replaced for a pinch runner after his single in the ninth.