ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Nelson Cruz went 4 for 4 with a home run and Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers 10-4 on Thursday night.
The Mariners remained 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.
Texas entered the game one-half game behind Seattle in the wild card race and fielded a surprise lineup looking for a spark from two injured veterans.
One night after making an unexpected appearance as a pinch hitter Adrian Beltre was batting fourth as the designated hitter. This was just two weeks after suffering a Grade 2 strain in his hamstring and he was expected to miss at least four weeks, likely the remainder of the season.
Beltre went 1 for 3 with a single and was replaced by a pinch runner in the seventh inning.
Mike Napoli is dealing with a stress reaction in his lower right leg and is playing through pain. General manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday the Rangers would have to manage his playing time, but Napoli was in the lineup and playing first base Thursday. He went 0 for 2.
Seattle had its own reinforcement from the injured ranks as Felix Hernandez made his first start since getting put on the DL with right shoulder bursitis on Aug. 5. He was on a pitch count and threw 54 pitches, allowing three hits and striking out three in 3 2/3 innings.
Andrew Albers (5-1) pitched the final five innings and allowed three hits.
Hernandez had an early lead to work with when Seager hit a two-run home run in the second. Three innings later Yonder Alonso hit a bases-loaded double to give the Mariners a 5-1 lead.
Alonso’s bases-clearing hit was the final batter Andrew Cashner (9-10). The Rangers starter allowed six hits, five runs, and walked five in 4 1/3 innings.
Seattle pushed the lead to 9-1 during a 34-minute sixth inning that featured 50 pitches and 10 batters.
Rougned Odor hit a three-run homer in the seventh to cut the lead to 9-4 before Cruz homered off the foul pole in the bottom half of the inning.
Rangers: OF Carlos Gomez has resumed batting practice but is still dealing with a high right ankle sprain. He’s progressing as expected, but still struggling with mobility.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (12-3) will make his first start after being placed on the DL on Aug. 11 with a strained pectoral muscle.
Rangers: RHP Nick Martinez (3-6) will make his first start since Aug. 31 against Houston. Martinez has worked as a relief pitcher in September and last made an appearance on Sept. 10 against New York.
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