George Kirby pitched six strong innings as the Seattle Mariners crept closer to their first playoff berth since 2001 with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
It was just the fourth victory in the past 12 games for the Mariners (84-70), who increased their lead over the Baltimore Orioles to 4 1/2 games for the American League's third and final wild-card berth.
The Rangers (66-88) lost for the fourth time in their past five games.
Kirby (8-4) rebounded from one of the worst starts of his rookie season -- he gave up five runs on seven hits in just 2 1/3 innings on Sept. 22 at Oakland -- by giving up one run on five hits against the Rangers. The right-hander walked one and struck out four.
Seattle's Erik Swanson, Andres Munoz and Paul Sewald each pitched a perfect inning of relief, with Sewald closing it out for his 20th save of the season.
Rangers left-hander Martin Perez (12-7) took the loss despite making a quality start. He allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings, with three walks and three strikeouts.
Texas scored its lone run in the first inning. Nathaniel Lowe hit a one-out double to center, and an out later, Josh Jung grounded a sharp, run-scoring single to center. Jung hit two homers and had five RBIs in the Rangers' 5-0 victory in the series opener on Tuesday.
The Mariners took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Dylan Moore drew a leadoff walk and Ty France reached on an infield single. Eugenio Suarez doubled off the base of the wall in center field to bring home the tying run, and Mitch Haniger followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 2-1.
The Mariners tacked on a run in the third. France grounded a single to center and Suarez hit a hard grounder into left. Haniger walked to load the bases, and Carlos Santana hit a chopper over the mound to score the run, which turned out to be the game's last.
--Field Level Media