Heading into their third postseason in four years, the Rangers insist things will be different this time.

They surely can't do any worse.

Texas has won just one of seven games, losing its last six. The Rangers scored just one run in three games last October.

But this year the Rangers believe they have the right mix of pitching, hitting and confidence to beat anyone -- even their nemesis, the Yankees.

"I think everybody in this room knows we have the talent to do it, and the way we've played all year against the good teams, I think we all realize that we have the mental makeup to do it," 3B Todd Zeile said. "Now it's a matter of putting those two things together at the right time."

The Rangers did that over the weekend, rebounding from a weeklong slump to take three straight from second-place Oakland. Their bats came alive to score 12, 10 and 10 runs, and their starters won each game.

MARINERS NEWS: Nintendo of America Chairman Howard Lincoln was appointed chairman of the Mariners, succeeding John Ellis, who was designated chairman emeritus and will remain on the club's board.

Lincoln got off to a fast start, offering Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez contracts he said would make them the best-paid players in baseball. Without giving figures, Lincoln said the Mariners had made "definitive, written offers" to Griffey and Rodriguez.

EXTENSION: The Devil Rays signed C John Flaherty (George Washington University) to a three-year contract extension.

"John is the kind of veteran player we want to help us bring a championship team to Tampa Bay," GM Chuck LaMar said. "He is a smart player, a solid individual both on and off the field."

Flaherty is hitting .280 with 14 home runs and 70 RBI in 114 games this season.