Mariners 7, Rangers 5

The Seattle Mariners are getting a late-season glimpse of their

future.

Justin Smoak homered and had three hits, fellow rookie David

Pauley pitched six effective innings, and the Mariners edged the AL

West champion Texas Rangers 7-5 on Monday night.

The Mariners, who fell out of the race with a 16-28 start, had

five rookies in the lineup auditioning for roles on next year’s

team.

”Looking at our kids and going forward, what can we expect out

of them, you want to see some consistency and this is what we’re

going to get,” Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said.

Pauley (4-8) allowed two runs and eight hits, struck out three

and walked two.

Entering Monday night’s start, the Mariners had scored only 18

runs this season in Pauley’s first 13 starts. This time, his

teammates provided him with six runs.

”That helps a lot,” Pauley said. ”That gives you an

opportunity to sit back a little bit, you’ve got a little cushion

to work the plate a little more instead of trying to be too fine.

In those situations, that’s when you get hurt.”

Brandon League pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in 11

chances.

Smoak, traded to the Mariners by the Rangers on July 9 in the

deal that sent left-hander Cliff Lee to Texas, hit a towering

three-run shot to left in the fifth off C.J. Wilson (14-8) that

extended Seattle’s lead to 6-1.

Smoak struggled in his initial go around with the Mariners and

was sent to Triple-A Tacoma. He helped the Raniers win the Pacific

Coast League championship with a .438 batting average in eight

playoff games, then was recalled by the Mariners on Sept. 18.

Smoak enjoyed his first trip to Texas since he was traded.

”It’s always satisfying no matter who it is, but against them,

yes it’s satisfying, but it’s baseball and we’ve got another game

tomorrow,” Smoak said. ”…I’m proud of (the Rangers) for what

they’ve accomplished this year and we’ve got to look forward to the

future and keep playing hard and keep playing well and hopefully

next year this club will be able to do that.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he wasn’t surprised at

Smoak’s production. Smoak was one of Texas’ top prospects, but to

get Lee, the Rangers had to part with some of their best young

talent.

”We always saw potential in Smoak. … We know he’s gonna be a

good player,” Washington said. ”He’s still young. He got

us.”

Nelson Cruz’s three-run homer in the seventh off Anthony Varvaro

pulled the Rangers within 6-5.

But Seattle loaded the bases in the eighth and Franklin

Gutierrez raced home from third on Pedro Strop’s wild pitch to make

it 7-5.

Vladimir Guerrero added his 29th homer for Texas, which had its

three-game winning streak snapped.

Before the game, the Rangers raised the AL West championship

flag after clinching their first division title since 1999 on

Saturday in Oakland.

Washington had most of his regulars back in the lineup after

resting five starters Sunday at Oakland.

Next on the Rangers’ agenda: determine the makeup of their

playoff roster.

Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI doubles from Adam

Moore and Greg Halman.

Guerrero’s homer that glanced off the top of the left-field wall

leading off the second made it 2-1, but Gutierrez’s sacrifice fly

in the third gave Seattle a 3-1 advantage.

Wilson allowed six runs and eight hits, struck out five and

walked one in five innings while losing his third straight

decision.

Wilson will be in the playoff rotation, but he said he isn’t

looking ahead even though he hasn’t won since Aug. 30.

”We don’t even know who we’re playing yet, so how can I prepare

for that?” Wilson said.

NOTES: Pauley is winless in six home decisions, but is 4-2 on

the road. … Seattle RHP David Aardsma, out since Sept. 19 with a

left oblique strain, will play catch Tuesday in an effort to return

to the bullpen before the end of the season. … Halman’s double

was his first major league hit. … Rangers OF Josh Hamilton took

25 swings off a tee, ran hard in the outfield, and shagged fly

balls prior to the game. Hamilton has been out since Sept. 4 with

two fractured ribs and muscle spasms in his right side, and he

reported no discomfort after Monday’s session. Washington said

Hamilton must still go through a regular batting practice before he

can play in a game. Hamilton missed his 23rd straight game.