Fri, 08 Dec 2023

(Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

The Texas Rangers delivered the opening salvo of their pivotal series with the Seattle Mariners to move back into first place in the American League West.

Now the trick for Texas is staying in the top spot when the Rangers and Mariners square off Saturday night in the middle contest of the three-game set at Arlington, Texas.

Texas (85-68) recorded an 8-5 victory Friday that allowed it to move past the Houston Astros (85-69) into first in the division. Seattle (84-69) is one game back.

Friday's triumph came in the first of seven meetings over the season's final 10 games between the Rangers and Mariners. Texas improved to 6-1 against Seattle this season.

Winning the contest was more important than moving into first place in the eyes of Rangers manager Bruce Bochy.

"Where you're at in the standings doesn't matter right now," Bochy said. "There's nine games left. We know how tight it is. We're just going out there trying to do the best we can to win a ballgame."

Texas built an 8-0 lead before the Mariners rallied. Seattle had the potential go-ahead run at the plate when Ty France bounced out with the bases loaded to end the game.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said he was taking solace in the comeback attempt. He also expected the series to include some high-scoring affairs.

"The games are going to go back-and-forth, and you're never out of the game," Servais said. "I give our guys credit -- they battled back into the game after a little bit of a rocky start."

Seattle also is competing for one of the AL's three wild-card spots. The Mariners are on the outside of the race as they trail the second-place Toronto Blue Jays by 1 1/2 games and the Astros by a half-game.

Cal Raleigh hit a three-run shot for Seattle on Friday. He became the first catcher in Mariners' history to hit 30 homers in a season.

For the Rangers, Corey Seager belted his 32nd homer and rookie Evan Carter lined a three-run blast. Carter has three homers in 14 games since being recalled.

Carter's September contributions come at a time in which the Rangers recently got All-Stars Adolis Garcia (knee) and Josh Jung (thumb) back from injuries.

"It's a scary offense when everybody is clicking on all cylinders," Carter said. "I'm excited to be a part of that and hopefully we can keep it rolling."

Right-hander Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.77 ERA) will start for Seattle on Saturday and aim to bounce back from his first loss since June 28.

Gilbert gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings while losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. It was the second straight start in which he allowed two homers.

Gilbert went 8-0 in a 13-start stretch before the setback against the Dodgers.

The 26-year-old struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings against Texas on May 8 but took the loss despite allowing just two runs and three hits. Gilbert is 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers.

Seager is 5-for-11 and Nathaniel Lowe is 9-for-21 against Gilbert, while Marcus Semien is just 2-for-17.

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (9-11, 3.38) will be on the mound for Texas. He is 3-2 with a 3.29 ERA in nine starts for the Rangers since being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Montgomery lost his lone career outing against Seattle in July 2021 when he gave up three runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He was a member of the New York Yankees at the time.

Dylan Moore (1-for-2) has homered off Montgomery, who regularly shuts down Teoscar Hernandez (1-for-16).

--Field Level Media

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