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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, April 17th (All times Eastern)

Seattle Mariners (7-7) at Texas Rangers (8-7), 2:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 5.63) Texas - Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 7.88)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers target a series win over the Seattle Mariners Thursday afternoon in the finale of a four-game set in Arlington.

The Rangers lost the opener by a 7-1 score, but have bounced back with 5-0 and 3-2 victories to set themselves up for taking the series from their AL West rivals. In Wednesday's one-run decision, the Rangers rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for their fourth win in six tries on a 10-game homestand.

Kevin Kouzmanoff scored on a wild pitch and Leonys Martin singled home Mitch Moreland to end the game. Martin had a team-high two hits and also scored a run for the Rangers.

"You just try to create that opportunity, and Leonys got up there and made it happen," said Moreland. "You've got to tip your hat to what our pitchers did all game."

It was a duel between starting pitchers, as Seattle ace Felix Hernandez allowed just a run and four hits in seven innings to go along with nine strikeouts and one walk in the no-decision.

"Felix did a great job," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "He got tired a little bit in the eighth inning ... but he did a fabulous job for us."

Texas starter Yu Darvish fanned eight batters, walked two and gave up two runs and seven hits in seven frames. Pedro Figueroa tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the win and Mariners closer Fernando Rodney was dealt the loss for surrendering a pair of unearned runs.

The Rangers will hand the ball to Tanner Scheppers for Thursday's finale and he is 0-1 with a 7.88 earned run average in three starts. In last Saturday's 6-5 loss to Houston, Scheppers did not record a decision and gave up five runs in seven innings. He has allowed five or more runs twice already this season.

Scheppers, a right-hander, is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 11 career relief appearances against the Mariners.

Seattle has lost two in a row and four of five games, and couldn't build on Hernandez's solid start on Wednesday. Abraham Almonte had two hits and an RBI, while Nick Franklin and Dustin Ackley scored runs in the loss.

Mike Zunino also had a pair of hits for the Mariners. He was disappointed his team couldn't hold the win for King Felix.

"After he turns in that outing right there, you want to seal the deal for him," Zunino told the club's website. "He did everything in his power to get us to that spot and it's unfortunate we couldn't. Hopefully next time he has a start like that, we can turn it in for him."

Rodney appeared to have the save in control after getting the first two batters of the ninth inning out. However, the bases were then loaded on a Brad Miller throwing error and Rodney uncorked a wild pitch for the tying run. The tilted-cap wearing Rodney then gave up the winning hit to Martin.

"Rodney did a great job for us," Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon said. "It's unfortunate we made the error there, but that's baseball. Those things happen. Over the course of a 162-game schedule, you're going to win your share of those and lose your share of them. When you're on the losing end, it never feels good. But like I told my guys, turn the page and get ready for tomorrow."

Taking the mound for McClendon's club Thursday will be Erasmo Ramirez, who has a 1-2 record and 5.63 ERA in three starts. Ramirez has allowed eight runs and 12 hits over his last two starts (9 innings) and permitted three runs in five innings of a 3-1 loss last Saturday to Oakland.

Ramirez, who tossed seven innings of two-run ball in his season debut, has no record and a 2.38 ERA in three career meetings (1 start) with Texas.

Texas went 12-7 against the Mariners last year.

04/17 10:27:27 ET