SEATTLE – For most of the season, Seattle’s Mike Leake has felt he’s auditioning for others.
He’ll find out over the next week whether that feeling was correct, coming off two of his best performances of the season.
“I think I may have been all year in a way just because they were trying to maybe trade me in the offseason a little bit. But definitely I think I’m on the radar,” Leake said.
Leake outpitched Mike Minor in what could be the final start for each before the upcoming trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach hit a pair of solo home runs, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-3 on Wednesday.
Leake and Minor have been the subject of trade rumors – Minor more than Leake – leading up to next week’s trade deadline. But it was Leake with the better outing in his first start since taking a perfect game into the ninth inning last Friday against the Angels.
“Unfortunately and fortunately, I’ve been traded and moved around for the last few years, but it has given me the wherewithal to kind of know what to do in circumstances like this,” Leake said.
Leake (9-8) threw seven innings, his only mistake giving up a two-out, two-strike home run to Rougned Odor in the sixth inning. Leake struck out seven, walked none and threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of 29 batters.
Leake’s streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings ended thanks to Odor. After a pair of two-out singles, Leake left a 0-2 pitch to Odor elevated and the Texas second baseman didn’t miss, hitting his 18th home run of the season and fourth of the series. Odor homered in the series opener on Monday and hit a pair of long balls on Tuesday night.
Anthony Bass worked a perfect eighth in relief of Leake, and Roenis Elias pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
The Rangers lost for the ninth time in 10 games.
Minor (8-6) has acknowledged that trade discussions have been a distraction, especially with the Rangers’ slide after the All-Star break that has seen them fall from wild-card contenders into likely sellers over the next week. Minor seemed fine for the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth.
Minor was lifted after the sixth, giving up eight hits and four earned runs. He struck out five.
“The trade rumors are not weighing on me. I’m searching to find that rhythm, to try and find the mechanics and find the release point,” Minor said. “I just want to pitch better, so I’m looking forward to my next start.”
Vogelbach started the big inning with a line-drive shot down the right-field line for his 24th homer. He hit his second homer in the sixth, a towering shot to right-center. It was his third career multihomer game. Vogelbach stayed late on Tuesday night looking at video to try and make some fixes with his swing.
“Just little things to get me going in the right direction. Sometimes you just have to see it on video. You can’t feel it. So watched some video last night and figured some stuff out,” Vogelbach said.
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