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September 23, 2012

Rangers 3, Mariners 2 (F)

SEATTLE -- Mike Napoli and Geovany Soto hit homers in a three-run third inning Sunday, and Ryan Dempster allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings as the Rangers avoided a three-game sweep by Seattle with a 3-2 victory at Safeco Field.

The victory allowed the Rangers to maintain a four-game lead in the American League West over Oakland, which opens a four-game series Monday at Rangers Ballpark. The A's won Sunday at New York, which gives the Rangers a two-game lead over the Yankees for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

The Rangers became the first AL team to reach 90 wins, but it wasn't easy.

Napoli hit a one-out solo homer in the fourth, giving him 20 homers in five straight season. After David Murphy walked, Soto connected for his fifth homer since he was acquired July 30.

The Rangers missed a chance to add to their lead in the fifth, when they had runners at first and third with no outs, and Dempster escaped in the fifth after Seattle put runners on the corners with two outs.

Seattle finally broke through in the seventh. Eric Thames started it with a homer to right, and Brendan Ryan added a solo shot to left with two outs.

The Mariners wasted a great chance in the eighth against Mike Adams, who allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning and had the bases loaded with one out after an intentional walk to Justin Smoak. But Adams struck out Thames and got Luis Jimenez to fly to center to end the threat.

The Rangers' failures with runners in scoring position continues in the ninth. Gentry led off with a triple, but was stranded there after Ian Kinsler popped to shallow right, Elvis Andrus struck out and Mitch Moreland popped out.

Joe Nathan, though, worked around a two-out single and a wild pitch in the ninth for his 35th save.

-- Jeff Wilson


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