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Rangers Defeat Mariners 7-3

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Rangers Defeat Mariners 7-3

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The Texas Rangers clinched their second straight division title on Friday, and celebrated well into the night.

The AL West champions went back to work on Saturday, and they still had plenty in reserve.

David Murphy had two RBIs and the Rangers' patchwork lineup finished with 14 hits in a 7-3 victory over Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners.

Regulars Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus and Mike Napoli were in the dugout for the middle game of the series, and Texas really didn't need them.

"I want to get one thing straight. When I put nine guys out there that's on my roster, I expect to win," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Hernandez pitched today, we didn't play our best guys. So we weren't supposed to win. But it didn't happen. We can play."

Esteban German and Andres Blanco each had three hits for Texas, which has won six of seven. Reliever Scott Feldman (2-1) allowed three runs and five hits in four innings to get the victory.

Rangers rookie Leonys Martin made his first big league start. The Cuban center fielder had two hits and scored twice.

"It's a testament to our depth," Murphy said. "Guys hadn't played in a while. It was a solid offensive effort."

Hernandez was forced out of the game when Michael Young's liner went off his right forearm during the Rangers' six-run fourth inning.

The Rangers had already scored four times in the fourth when Hernandez (14-14) was struck with one out. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner fell to the ground as the ball caromed toward third base for a single.

Hernandez was attended to by a team trainer, and was soon walking to the dugout, grimacing in pain and done for the day. The right-hander was charged with seven runs, five earned, and 12 hits in his shortest outing since he pitched 3 1-3 innings in an 8-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on May 7, 2010.

"I called him, he said he was fine," Young said. "I have a lot of respect for him."

Said Hernandez: "That was scary. Nothing's broke. I was trying to catch (the ball). I've been hit before, but not in my arm. It hurt! They were hitting pretty good pitches. They were finding a lot of holes. Then they found me."

The Rangers trailed 2-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth, but that didn't last long. German and Endy Chavez had RBI singles and Murphy followed with a two-run single.

After Young's drive knocked out Hernandez, Jeff Gray threw wildly to the plate while trying to record a forceout at home. Two more runs scored on the error, giving Texas a 7-2 lead.

"It was one of our worst games, if not the worst," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "It was unacceptable. It was ugly. That's not what I'm about and not what we're about. I don't care if you have three games left or 103 games left, that's unacceptable."

With four games remaining, the Rangers still have goals. They are competing with Detroit for the AL's second-best record, with the winner receiving home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Texas took the lead in the second when Martin doubled and scored on Blanco's single.

The Mariners responded with two runs in the fourth. Mike Carp had a sacrifice fly and Justin Smoak singled in a run.

Rangers starter Alexi Ogando pitched two perfect innings before he was lifted for Feldman. Ogando, the team's No. 5 starter, is probably ticketed for the bullpen in the postseason when the Rangers go to a four-man rotation.

Ogando made his first start since Sept. 15 when he threw six shutout innings in a win over Cleveland. The Rangers have given the converted reliever extra rest down the stretch after he easily surpassed his career high for innings.

For now, Washington won't reveal his playoff plans for Ogando.

"We felt like he did everything we needed to see," Washington said. "We got some decisions to make. We haven't totally made them yet."

With a comfortable lead, the Rangers also were able to look at three relievers besides Feldman as Washington tries to finalize his bullpen for the playoffs. Yoshinori Tateyama, Darren O'Day and Michael Kirkman all pitched an inning.

"It worked out perfect," Washington said. "It all fell into place."

NOTES: Before the game, the Rangers raised the division flag high above the ballpark in left center. ... Washington said Cruz would play the outfield on Sunday for the first time since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 13. Since then, Cruz has been used as a DH and pinch hitter to protect a tender left hamstring. ... Wedge said OF Casper Wells is "pretty much out for the season" because of an equilibrium problem. ... Wedge said Smoak would play 1B on Sunday after serving as DH in his last two games. Smoak has been limited by a groin injury. ... Seattle C Miguel Olivo banged his right knee into the brick wall behind home plate after chasing a foul popup in the fourth. Olivo was down for a few minutes but remained in the game. ... The Rangers are 14-4 against the Mariners this season.

Related Topics Rangers, Mariners
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