Rangers-Mariners Preview

The Texas Rangers regrouped with an offensive surge in the

series opener, but that could prove difficult to continue facing

one of the best pitchers in the AL.

They may not need it if Derek Holland can extend his dominant

run against the Seattle Mariners.

Holland will try to lead the Rangers to their 11th win in 13

road games Tuesday night when he opposes Hisashi Iwakuma in an

intriguing pitching matchup at Safeco Field.

A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland homered, Elvis Andrus had

three hits and Texas defeated the Mariners 8-3 on Monday. The

Rangers (76-55) remained 2 1/2 games up on Oakland in the AL West

following the Athletics’ win in Detroit.

Andrus notched his third straight multihit game, and Alex Rios

had two RBIs for the second time in three contests after a 10-game

stretch in which he had one.

Texas went 4 for 10 with runners in scoring position after going

1 for 14 in those situations over the weekend in consecutive losses

to the White Sox.

The Rangers, however, may find things a bit more difficult

against Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98 ERA), who has held opponents to a .183

average with runners in scoring position. He also ranks in the AL’s

top 10 in wins, ERA, opponent batting average (.223) and innings

(178).

Iwakuma has won his last two starts, giving up four runs and 11

hits over 14 innings.

The first of those victories came in Texas on Aug. 16, when he

allowed one run and four hits while striking out eight over seven

innings in a 3-1 win. He’s 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts

against the Rangers this season, limiting them to a .179

average.

“They have a very good lineup and I was just keeping the ball

down, trying to miss down and not up if I did miss,” Iwakuma told

the team’s official website through an interpreter. “I was making

good pitches when I needed and was able to get out of some

jams.”

Holland (9-6, 2.95) actually outpitched Iwakuma in that game,

giving up two hits in seven scoreless innings. He has a 1.67 ERA in

his last four starts but only one win in that span.

The left-hander has been tough on the Mariners, going 2-0 with

an 0.66 ERA in his last four outings against them. Holland has not

allowed an earned run over 23 1-3 innings in three career starts at

Safeco and won them all.

“The weather is nice and the roof is closed, but you still have

to keep the ball down,” Holland said. “Even though it’s a pitcher’s

park, the ball can still go out of here.”

Seattle (59-71) has lost four straight at home and has totaled

seven runs in its last six games there.

Former Mariner Adrian Beltre is batting .419 over an 11-game

hitting streak against his old club and has hit .415 in his last 26

games overall. He’s also had Iwakuma’s number, going 5 for 11 with

two home runs.

Seattle’s Kyle Seager hit his 20th home run Monday and is

batting .424 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 14 games

versus the Rangers.