Mariners Eliminate Rangers From Playoffs

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 20, 2006; 11:53 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Even though there are spots available in the Seattle Mariners' rotation in 2007, Cha Seung Baek is trying not to look too far into the future.

The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over 6 2-3 innings to continue an impressive late-season surge, and Raul Ibanez homered as the Mariners eliminated the Texas Rangers from the AL West race with a 6-3 victory Wednesday night.

Baek (4-1) struck out five and walked one, beating the Rangers for the second time since he was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Aug. 22. The native of South Korea allowed four hits over seven shutout innings in a 7-2 win over Texas on Sept. 8.

"I think most everybody here is looking for a job," Baek said. "I can just focus on each game, not for next year."

Baek, who made his 11th major league start, has pitched at least into the sixth in all of his victories this season.

Manager Mike Hargrove has been impressed with Baek's success against the Rangers.

"He hit his spots and kept the ball away from the middle of the plate against a good-hitting ball club," Hargrove said. "But the key is pitching inside to some good hitters."

J.J. Putz got the last three outs for his 34th save.

Yuniesky Betancourt had three hits for the Mariners, who won two of three from the Rangers. Before that series, Seattle had lost 18 of its previous 24 games at Texas.

"We haven't had much success (in Texas) since I've been here," Ibanez said. "Winning games here haven't come easy."

Texas had already been eliminated from wild-card contention, leaving the Rangers with little to play for the rest of the way.

"It's disappointing," Texas' Mark DeRosa said. "But you play for your own pride. Only eight teams go to the playoffs. You have to bear down and take pride in your work."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Associated Press