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Baek, Mariners win second straight against Rangers

Sep 20, 2006 - 2:18 PM ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- Cha Seung Baek pitched 6 2/3 solid innings and Raul Ibanez hit his 28th home run as the Seattle Mariners posted a 6-3 victory over the Texas Rangers.

Baek (4-1) rebounded from his worst start of the season, holding the Rangers to two runs and three hits while striking out five to remain a perfect 3-0 lifetime against Texas. It was the Mariners' second straight win vs. the Rangers after losing 13 of their previous 15 contests.

"Given what happened the last time we were here, it was good to win," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said, referring to four straight losses August 10-13 that effectively knocked Seattle out of the race in the American League West Division. "This is a tough place to win."

In his last start, Baek allowed six runs and seven hits against Toronto en route to a 10-0 loss. Prior to that, the 29-year-old Korean had been 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA.

Baek had no explanation for his success against the Rangers, which included a 19-inning shutout streak that lasted through the fifth inning on Wednesday.

"I don't know," he said. "Just working on trying to get hitters out. Just good timing."

"We haven't had any success against him," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He had a good four-pitch mix. He had a good fastball and threw all four pitches for strikes."

Hargrove definitely was happy with Baek's performance.

"He did really well," Hargrove said. "He did a really good job against a very good offensive ballclub. I think he hits his spots and keeps the ball off the plate. He got inside on really good hitters. I'm sure part of it is deception and movement and location. He had good command of his pitches tonight."

In the fifth inning, Ibanez drove in his career-high 111th run of the season with a solo homer off Robinson Tejeda. Yuniesky Betancourt doubled later in the frame and scored on rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler's second error of the game.

"It was a fastball out over the plate," Ibanez said of the home run. "That was a good series. Winning games isn't easy here."

Kinsler's first miscue occurred in third inning, when he failed to field a grounder near second base, allowing Kenji Johjima and Richie Sexson to score. Johjima and Sexson had singled and doubled prior to the error, which gave Seattle a 3-0 lead.

"Ian's been good defensively," Showalter said. "He got a couple of tough in-between hops, but he has been solid for us defensively all season."

In the ninth inning, Seattle closer J.J. Putz, one of three relievers in the frame, worked around a single by Kinsler to record his 34th save of the season.

Tejeda (4-4) allowed five runs - two earned - and eight hits while walking two. It was his first loss since being recalled on August 19.

"I thought I pitched OK but didn't have fastball command," Tejeda said. "A few things happened that you can't control, and that's baseball. There will be days sometimes when things don't go your way, but you have to keep going forward."

Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a double and scored on Johjima's sacrifice fly.

Texas is now 77-76, but shortstop Michael Young, who tied a club record with his 50th double, said that with the club out of the postseason race, ending up over .500 has no meaning.

"I don't care, it doesn't matter to me," Young said. "Obviously, it would be nice, I don't want to finish under, but it's not like if we finish over, there will be a celebration."

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