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
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
“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
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.