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3
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
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  W: T. Barnette (2-1)   L: N. Vincent (3-3)   S: Á. Cláudio (9)
7:10 PM PT8:10 PM MT9:10 PM CT10:10 PM ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 PM MST9:10 PM EST9:40 PM VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 PM CT, September 19, 2017
Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington  Attendance: 17,251

Mariners, Rangers still hoping for postseason berth

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners return Tuesday to Safeco Field, which will not represent the familiar surroundings of home as much as their own private version of the Last Chance Saloon.

The Mariners (74-76) come back for their final homestand of the regular season after getting swept in three games by the Houston Astros. It was a result Seattle could ill afford and one that has the Mariners four games behind the Minnesota Twins in the chase for the second American League wild card.

"We are running out of time," Seattle manager Scott Servais said Sunday. "These games are important. I assume we will bounce back. ... Texas comes in and then Cleveland. We're going to keep playing hard. A lot of things can still happen."

The Mariners will open their homestand Tuesday against the Texas Rangers (73-76), who avoided their own sweep on Sunday with a 4-2 road victory over the Los Angeles Angels. However, the Rangers are in a similar predicament in the playoff chase, 4 1/2 games behind the Twins.

The next three games might be setting up as an elimination series for the two postseason hopefuls. Actually, considering that both teams probably need help from somewhere above them in the standings, anything but a sweep could deliver a nasty blow to their playoff aspirations.

"It's do or die. We can't afford to lose any more games," Texas slugger Adrian Beltre told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Sunday. "We don't think about winning every game, but we need to start playing better to give ourselves a chance."

Since returning from the disabled list after recovering from a strained hamstring, Beltre has struggled, hitting .200 (3-for-15) in five games. The hamstring injury has affected his swing, all but taking his legs away.

Even so, Texas manager Jeff Banister indicated he would stick with the four-time All-Star.

"You give a guy like that some width," Banister told the Dallas Morning News. "He knows his body. And one thing he's not is selfish. If he felt he could not contribute, he would be the first to come out of the lineup. He believes he can help."

The Mariners will send a hot pitcher to the mound on Tuesday. Right-hander Mike Leake has won all three starts, posting a 2.41 ERA, since Seattle acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 30. For the season, Leake is 10-12 with a 4.01 ERA.

Leake pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and one run while recording an 8-1 win in Texas on Wednesday, his only start against the Rangers this season.

In four career starts against Texas, Leake is 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA.

Shin-Soo Choo ranks as Texas' top hitter against Leake in his career, hitting .429 (6-for-14) with two home runs. Carlos Gomez has also hit well against Leake, batting .389 (7-for-18) against him. Beltre (1-for-8) hasn't fared as well.

Left-hander Martin Perez (12-11, 4.82 ERA) will take the mound for the Rangers. He faced Leake in the Wednesday game, and Perez had his personal seven-game winning streak stopped as he pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs.

Perez is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 21 2/3 innings against the Mariners in 2017. In 16 career games, including 14 starts, against Seattle, Perez is 6-4 with a 3.42 ERA.

Seattle's Kyle Seager (.390, four home runs in 41 career at-bats) and Nelson Cruz (.368, three home runs in 19 at-bats) have hit Perez hard, but the lefty has limited Robinson Cano to a .214 average with no homers in 28 career at-bats.

Updated September 19, 2017

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