(Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Texas Rangers will go for a three-game sweep against the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
Texas (86-68) has won four games in a row to move into first place in the competitive American League West with eight games to play. The Rangers enter Sunday's action with a 1 1/2-game lead over the Houston Astros and a two-game lead over the Mariners.
The margin between division champion and third-place finisher is thin, and Seattle (84-70) knows it has put itself in a tough spot by losing its first two games at Texas. The Mariners are 8-13 this month.
After Sunday's series finale, Seattle will head home to finish the season with three games against Houston followed by four against Texas.
"We've got eight games against two really good teams," Mariners first baseman Ty France said after Saturday's game. "Really important games. We just have to keep going. ...
"Fortunately, (the Astros) lost, so it still gives us a shot. As long as we can get back to playing our game, get back home and take care of business, we'll be in a good spot."
The Rangers are coming off a 2-0 win Saturday against the Mariners, thanks in large part to the performance of Jordan Montgomery, who hurled seven scoreless innings and struck out six. Montgomery has given up only one run in his last 21 innings.
Rangers catcher Jonah Heim enjoyed the win from behind the plate.
"We knew that coming into this series, it was going to be a lot of low-scoring games, because you see their (staff's) numbers, what they put up all year," Heim said. "We knew that coming in, and I think it just came down to good game planning, and we've executed it thus far."
In the finale, Texas will turn to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (11-4, 3.05 ERA). He is tied with Dane Dunning for the team lead in victories.
Eovaldi is coming off a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. He gave up three runs on four hits in five innings while walking three and striking out three.
In eight career starts against Seattle, Eovaldi is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA.
The Mariners will counter with right-hander Bryan Woo (4-4, 3.90), who is set to make the 17th start of his rookie campaign. He is looking for his third victory in as many starts.
Woo has not allowed an earned run in his past two outings, which span 10 2/3 innings. He has given up seven hits, walked four and struck out 14 during that time.
This will be Woo's second start against the Rangers. He was roughed up by Texas in his big-league debut June 3, when he gave up six runs on seven hits in two innings.
One player Woo will need to be weary of is Adolis Garcia. The Rangers' slugger scored both runs in Saturday's win, and he is showing no signs of injury after missing 10 games recently because of a right knee strain.
"We weren't sure if (Garcia) would be able to play at this time," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he's not only playing, he's playing at a high level."
--Field Level Media