ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers were picked by some before the season to contend with the Seattle Mariners in the tight AL West.
So far, the matchup has been a Rangers runaway.
Josh Hamilton homered for the fourth time in seven games, Michael Young went 3-for-4 with a homer, and the Rangers won their third straight over the Mariners, 12-3 on Thursday night.
Texas improved to 8-2 against Seattle this season, outscoring the Mariners 31-6 in the final three games of the four-game series.
“Everyone is pulling their weight,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his offence. “I hope we can continue it. (The Mariners) got some pitches up in the zone and we haven’t missed ’em.”
Hamilton got the Rangers’ offence rolling with a two-run homer in a three-run first.
Hamilton had three RBIs, giving him 13 during a seven-game homestand. Hamilton has driven in at least one run in seven straight games, the longest streak by a Ranger this season.
Julio Borbon added three hits for Texas. Vladimir Guerrero, Justin Smoak and David Murphy all had two hits and two RBIs for the Rangers.
“One guy hits, and it takes off from there,” Borbon said.
The Rangers, who had 17 hits, increased their lead in the AL West to 11/2 games over the Los Angeles Angels.
Seattle has lost six of seven to fall 10 games behind Texas in the division, but Washington said the Mariners aren’t out of the race quite yet.
“Before 162 games are over, I’m quite sure you’ll hear from Seattle,” Washington said.
Texas’ Tommy Hunter (2-0) allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in six innings of his second major league start this season.
Hunter threw a five-hitter in a 6-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday in his season debut.
This time, his run support was far better.
“It’s fun to pitch like that,” Hunter said. “When your team gets 17 hits, it makes it a lot easier to pitch.”
Michael Saunders and Chone Figgins had two hits each for the Mariners.
Two Seattle errors led to eight unearned runs in the kind of sloppy performance that has hurt the Mariners all season.
“They had eight unearned runs on ground balls, on plays that should have been made,” Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We’re embarrassed. There are no excuses.”
Texas jumped on Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-5) for a three-run first on Guerrero’s RBI single and Hamilton’s two-run homer.
Seattle scored twice in the third with the help of a throwing error by Borbon in centre field.
Saunders started the third with a single, and scored from first when Borbon’s throw to third on Figgins’ single sailed into the Seattle dugout. Figgins went to third on the overthrow, and later scored on Franklin Gutierrez’s sacrifice fly to get within 3-2.
But Texas kept up the offensive pressure as Young led off the third with a homer, and the Rangers got another run when Figgins made a fielding error at second on Smoak’s grounder. Guerrero scored on Murphy’s ground out, and Matt Treanor added an RBI single for a 7-2 lead.
Texas broke the game open with a five-run sixth — all the runs were unearned — highlighted by Smoak’s two-run double. Seattle shortstop Josh Wilson’s fielding error gave the Rangers the opening for an outburst that included RBI singles from Guerrero, Hamilton and Murphy.
Rowland-Smith allowed eight runs — four earned — and 11 hits over 5 2-3 innings. He hasn’t won since last October when Seattle beat Texas 2-1.
NOTES: Ichiro Suzuki was Seattle’s DH rather than in RF to rest his legs. Suzuki went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and was 1 for 15 in the four-game series. ... Mariners LF Milton Bradley got the day off. ... Rangers LHP Derek Holland said he’s not overly concerned after he was shut down halfway through a bullpen session on Wednesday when he felt a “pinch” in his left shoulder. Holland, who’s on the 15-day DL with left rotator cuff inflammation, will throw off flat ground Friday in Milwaukee. The Rangers have no plans for Holland to undergo an MRI on the shoulder. ... Mariners C Adam Moore (left fibula) has advanced from extended spring training in Arizona to triple-A Tacoma to continue his injury rehab. ... LHP Erik Bedard threw 50 pitches in the bullpen on Thursday and will throw a simulated game Tuesday in St. Louis. Bedard is rehabbing from left shoulder surgery.