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AL West-leading Texas Rangers get 7 scoreless innings from Montgomery in 2-0 win over Mariners

By STEPHEN HAWKINS / Associated Press
Published: September 23, 2023, 10:12pm
2 Photos
Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia, right, celebrates his double as Seattle Mariners second baseman Jose Caballero (76) and umpire Mike Muchlinski stand by in the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Arlington, Texas.
Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia, right, celebrates his double as Seattle Mariners second baseman Jose Caballero (76) and umpire Mike Muchlinski stand by in the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) Photo Gallery

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Trade-deadline acquisition Jordan Montgomery is settling in nicely during this playoff chase with the Texas Rangers, who have a lot of positive momentum with eight games left in the regular season.

Montgomery threw seven scoreless innings for the second time in his last three starts and switch-hitting All-Star catcher Jonah Heim drove in yet another run as the AL West-leading Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Saturday night, extending their division lead after Houston lost again.

“It’s fun” Montgomery said. “It’s just you and Jonah, and see the mitt. That’s when baseball is fun.”

Texas (86-68) won its fourth game in a row, including the first two games in the crucial series that began with the division rivals tied for the American League’s third and final wild-card spot. The Rangers took over the AL West lead for the first time in September after winning the opener, and lead by 1 1/2 games after 102-loss Kansas City beat the Astros for the second night in a row.

“Confidence is high and we know each and every game thus far is very important,” Heim said.

Montgomery (10-11), the left-hander acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the deadline, struck out six and walked two while scattering five hits. He is 4-2 in his 10 starts for the Rangers.

“He’s been outstanding,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was a great effort. We needed it. Their guy was throwing well too. … A lot of good things happened during that game. But it all starts with Monty.”

Jose Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman finished off the Rangers’ 12th shutout this season. Leclerc pitched the eighth and gave up a one-out single in the ninth before the hard-throwing Chapman worked around a walk for his sixth save in 11 chances.

Seattle (84-70) didn’t get a runner past second base while being held scoreless for the eighth time this season. The Mariners remained a half-game behind the Astros (85-70), who hold the third wild-card spot.

Mariners starter Logan Gilbert (13-7) allowed two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings, with two strikeouts and four walks. One of those free passes was intentional, but he had entered the game with a 5.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio that was fifth in the majors. He struck out 10 over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers in May.

“Baseball, sometimes it’s not always fair. You’ve got to give Montgomery a ton of credit,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I thought Logan threw outstanding, really. Was on top of his game tonight. They hit one ball hard off him, gave up the five hits, but they didn’t strike out. They put the ball in play with two strikes, and they found a few holes. That was kind of the story of the game.”

Gilbert lost for the first time in nine road starts since mid-June.

All-Star slugger Adolis García, in his fifth game back after missing 10 games with a patellar tendon strain in his right knee, scored both runs. He had a one-out double in the second inning before coming home on Mitch Garver’s single. In the fourth, Garcia walked with two outs and stole second base before an opposite-field single to left by Heim. It was Heim’s 92nd RBI of the season, and his 15th over his last 11 games.

“We weren’t sure if (Garcia) would be able to play at this time,” Bochy said. “But he’s not only playing, he’s playing at a high level.”

IN CASE OF A TIE

Texas is 7-1 against the Mariners, clinching the season series and tiebreaker, if needed, with five games still to play between them. After the series finale Sunday, they meet again for four games in Seattle to end the regular season. In between, the Rangers play at the Los Angeles Angels and the Mariners host Houston.

HIT AND AN OUT

Seattle CF Julio Rodriguez took sole possession of the AL lead with his 177th hit, breaking a tie with Rangers leadoff hitter Marcus Semien, who went 0 for 4. Rodriguez had a double in the first inning, but was then thrown out by shortstop Corey Seager when trying to advance to third on an infield grounder. Rodriguez finished 1 for 4, and is hitting .125 (4 for 32) against the Rangers this season.

UP NEXT

The Rangers play their regular-season home finale, with All-Star RHP Nathan Eovaldi (11-4, 3.05 ERA) making his fifth start since missing seven weeks with a right forearm strain. Mariners rookie RHP Bryan Woo (4-4, 3.90) allowed six runs in two innings at Texas on June 3, but has a 2.27 ERA and opponents batting average of .186 over his last six starts.

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Rangers 2, Mariners 0

Seattle AB R H BI BB SO Avg.
Crawford ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 .265
Rodríguez cf 4 0 1 0 0 0 .283
T.Hernández dh 3 0 1 0 1 1 .263
Raleigh c 4 0 0 0 0 1 .234
Suárez 3b 4 0 0 0 0 2 .231
France 1b 4 0 2 0 0 0 .249
Moore rf 3 0 1 0 0 1 .207
a-Kelenic ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 .254
Haggerty lf 3 0 0 0 1 1 .235
Caballero 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 .222
b-Torrens ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Totals 33 0 6 0 3 8
Texas AB R H BI BB SO Avg.
Semien 2b 4 0 0 0 0 2 .276
Seager ss 3 0 1 0 1 0 .333
Lowe 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .269
Jung 3b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .276
García rf 3 2 2 0 1 1 .244
Heim c 3 0 1 1 1 1 .263
Garver dh 3 0 2 1 0 0 .272
Taveras cf 2 0 0 0 1 0 .271
Carter lf 3 0 1 0 0 0 .325
Totals 29 2 7 2 4 4
Seattle 000 000 000_0 6 0
Texas 010 100 00x_2 7 0

a-walked for Moore in the 9th. b-grounded out for Caballero in the 9th.

LOB_Seattle 9, Texas 7. 2B_Rodríguez (36), Moore (8), García (28), Carter (3). RBIs_Garver (49), Heim (92). SB_García (9). CS_García (1).

Runners left in scoring position_Seattle 3 (Torrens, Raleigh, Caballero); Texas 4 (Taveras, Carter 2, Jung). RISP_Seattle 0 for 5; Texas 2 for 8.

Runners moved up_Rodríguez, Heim. GIDP_Lowe.

DP_Seattle 1 (Suárez, Crawford, France).

Seattle IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA
Gilbert, L, 13-7 5 2-3 5 2 2 4 2 94 3.75
Brash 1 1-3 1 0 0 0 1 17 2.96
Topa 1 1 0 0 0 1 13 2.34
Texas IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA
Montgomery, W, 4-2 7 5 0 0 2 6 102 2.92
Leclerc, H, 7 1 1-3 1 0 0 0 2 18 2.91
Chapman, S, 4-7 2-3 0 0 0 1 0 10 3.21

Inherited runners-scored_Brash 2-0, Chapman 1-0. IBB_off Gilbert (Seager). WP_Brash.

Umpires_Home, Jim Wolf; First, Alan Porter; Second, Mike Muchlinski; Third, Sean Barber.

T_2:28. A_36,900 (40,000).

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