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July 14, 2012

Rangers 3, Mariners 2 (F)

SEATTLE -- Derek Holland tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings, and Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer against his former team as the Rangers opened the second half of the season Friday by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over Seattle.

The Rangers won their third straight game and added a game to their lead in the American League West. It sits at five game after the Angels blew a late lead to the Yankees.

Ian Kinsler went 2 for 4 with an RBI single, and Michael Young had two hits as the Rangers improved to 53-34.

Holland (6-4) breezed through the first three innings, allowing just a single on 32 pitches, and got the first hitter in the fourth on a comebacker to the mound. But the next three Mariners would reach on a single and two walks.

Justin Smoak would engage Holland in 10-pitch at-bat that included a couple loud foul balls and two visits from Mike Napoli. Smoak, though, would pop out, and Nelson Cruz made a sliding grab on a sinking flyball by Miguel Olivo to end the Seattle threat.

Holland, who needed 30 pitches, and the Rangers had survived the fourth, and the offense took advantage.

The Rangers capitalized on a Mariners fielding gaffe in the fifth to plate the game's first run, an inning that started with singles by Michael Young and David Murphy. The next hitter, Mike Napoli, hit a double-play ball to shortstop, but second baseman Dustin Ackley mishandled the relay and got only one out.

Ian Kinsler would drive home Young from third two batters later, though Napoli was thrown out at home by left fielder Casper Wells.

Holland returned to the mound and shut down Seattle in order on only nine pitches, keeping momentum in the Rangers' dugout, and Beltre delivered a two-run homer after Josh Hamilton had singled with one out.

That was plenty of support for Holland, who lasted until Ichiro Suzuki reached on a weak infield single on Holland's 106th pitch. Mike Adams got the final out of the eighth, and Joe Nathan survived three hits, an error, wa walk, a wild pitch and two runs in the ninth inning for his 19th save.

Nathan got the first out, but Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak and John Jaso followed with singles to load the bases.

The next hitter, Michael Saunders, hit a chopper off of Young at first base, and the ball kicked into foul territory as a run scored. Saunders, though, took a wide turn around first and was tagged out by Nathan for the second out as Young threw behind the runner.

Smoak and Jason were in scoring position for pinch-hitter Carlos Paguero. Smoak would score on a wild pitch, and Jaso would move to third. Paguero walked, but Nathan got Dustin Ackley on strikes to end it.

-- Jeff Wilson

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