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Smoak Leads Mariners Past Rangers in Return to Arlington

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Justin Smoak homered and had three hits in his first trip to Texas since the Rangers traded him to the Mariners.

    The Seattle Mariners are getting a late-season glimpse of their future.

    Justin Smoak homered and had three hits, fellow rookie David Pauley pitched six effective innings, and the Mariners edged the AL West champion Texas Rangers 7-5 on Monday night.

    The Mariners, who fell out of the race with a 16-28 start, had five rookies in the lineup auditioning for roles on next year's team.

    "Looking at our kids and going forward, what can we expect out of them, you want to see some consistency and this is what we're going to get," Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said.

    Pauley (4-8) allowed two runs and eight hits, struck out three and walked two.

    Entering Monday night's start, the Mariners had scored only 18 runs this season in Pauley's first 13 starts. This time, his teammates provided him with six runs.

    "That helps a lot," Pauley said. "That gives you an opportunity to sit back a little bit, you've got a little cushion to work the plate a little more instead of trying to be too fine. In those situations, that's when you get hurt."

    Brandon League pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in 11 chances.

    Smoak, traded to the Mariners by the Rangers on July 9 in the deal that sent left-hander Cliff Lee to Texas, hit a towering three-run shot to left in the fifth off C.J. Wilson (14-8) that extended Seattle's lead to 6-1.

    Smoak struggled in his initial go around with the Mariners and was sent to Triple-A Tacoma. He helped the Raniers win the Pacific Coast League championship with a .438 batting average in eight playoff games, then was recalled by the Mariners on Sept. 18.

    Smoak enjoyed his first trip to Texas since he was traded.

    "It's always satisfying no matter who it is, but against them, yes it's satisfying, but it's baseball and we've got another game tomorrow," Smoak said. "...I'm proud of (the Rangers) for what they've accomplished this year and we've got to look forward to the future and keep playing hard and keep playing well and hopefully next year this club will be able to do that."

    Rangers manager Ron Washington said he wasn't surprised at Smoak's production. Smoak was one of Texas' top prospects, but to get Lee, the Rangers had to part with some of their best young talent.

    "We always saw potential in Smoak. ... We know he's gonna be a good player," Washington said. "He's still young. He got us."

    Nelson Cruz's three-run homer in the seventh off Anthony Varvaro pulled the Rangers within 6-5.

    But Seattle loaded the bases in the eighth and Franklin Gutierrez raced home from third on Pedro Strop's wild pitch to make it 7-5.

    Vladimir Guerrero added his 29th homer for Texas, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

    Before the game, the Rangers raised the AL West championship flag after clinching their first division title since 1999 on Saturday in Oakland.

    Washington had most of his regulars back in the lineup after resting five starters Sunday at Oakland.

    Next on the Rangers' agenda: determine the makeup of their playoff roster.

    Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI doubles from Adam Moore and Greg Halman.

    Guerrero's homer that glanced off the top of the left-field wall leading off the second made it 2-1, but Gutierrez's sacrifice fly in the third gave Seattle a 3-1 advantage.

    Wilson allowed six runs and eight hits, struck out five and walked one in five innings while losing his third straight decision.

    Wilson will be in the playoff rotation, but he said he isn't looking ahead even though he hasn't won since Aug. 30.

    "We don't even know who we're playing yet, so how can I prepare for that?" Wilson said.

    NOTES: Pauley is winless in six home decisions, but is 4-2 on the road. ... Seattle RHP David Aardsma, out since Sept. 19 with a left oblique strain, will play catch Tuesday in an effort to return to the bullpen before the end of the season. ... Halman's double was his first major league hit. ... Rangers OF Josh Hamilton took 25 swings off a tee, ran hard in the outfield, and shagged fly balls prior to the game. Hamilton has been out since Sept. 4 with two fractured ribs and muscle spasms in his right side, and he reported no discomfort after Monday's session. Washington said Hamilton must still go through a regular batting practice before he can play in a game. Hamilton missed his 23rd straight game.