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Rangers break through in seventh, beat Mariners 2-0

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 27, 2018, 10:32 p.m.

SEATTLE – First baseman Ronald Guzman broke a tie with an RBI single in the seventh inning, and the Texas Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.

Guzman hammered reliever Zach Duke’s sinking fastball into the right-center gap, scoring Ryan Rua, who reached base on a one-out double.

Guzman scored after right-hander Shawn Armstrong plunked Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the helmet with the bases loaded later in the inning.

Ariel Jurado (5-5) threw six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out three to win back-to-back starts against the Mariners in a six-day span. He won with five innings of two-run relief in an 8-3 victory on Sept. 21 in Arlington, Texas.

Hard-throwing Jose Leclerc collected his 12th save with a spotless ninth inning. He has not been scored upon in his past 21 appearances, dating to July 28 (a span of 21 innings). That’s the second-longest scoreless streak in the major leagues behind Minnesota’s Taylor Rogers (23 2/3 innings).

Duke (5-5) gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning after Seattle starter Marco Gonzales held the Rangers scoreless for five innings, giving up two hits and striking out six.

Texas has won five of its past six games against the Mariners. It was Seattle’s seventh shutout loss of the season.

Haniger joins A.L. elite

In his second full season with the Mariners, Mitch Haniger ranks eighth among A.L. position players with a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 6.0.

That’s the highest of any Seattle outfielder since 2009, when Franklin Gutierrez finished with a 6.6. The other two Seattle outfielders with a 6.0 WAR or better were Ken Griffey Jr. (six times) and Ichiro Suzuki (two).

“I’m not surprised really by anything he’s done because the work ethic, the discipline and structure he has,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He’s as good as anyone.”

Long wait over

Right-hander Adrian Sampson figured his first Safeco Field start would be with the hometown Mariners, the team that traded for him in 2015.

But after a season-ending elbow injury on the road with the Mariners in 2016, he was released. And now with Texas, he has worked his way back to the big leagues, first as a reliever and now a late-season starter. His final appearance is Saturday.

“It is a good story,” said Sampson, who is from nearby Redmond, Washington. “I have come a long ways, and to have this be the last start after the ups and downs earlier this year . to finish here is big for me.”

Roster reshuffling

Servais confirmed that LHP James Paxton will make his final start Saturday, but declined to name a starter for the season finale Sunday.


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Out of Right Field: Looking ahead to the Mariners’ 2019 season

UPDATED: 8:21 p.m.

Since Mitch Haniger has shown he can play center field for the Mariners, how about Bryce Harper in right next season? To afford Harper and his record-setting free-agent deal likely in the neighborhood of $400 million, the Mariners would have to jettison the following contracts: pitcher Felix Hernandez ($27.86 million), second baseman Robinson Cano ($24 million) and third baseman Kyle Seager ($19.5 million). No problem, right?