SEATTLE (AP) - Ryan Dempster allowed two runs and six hits over six-plus innings and Mike Napoli and Geovany Soto homered to lead the Texas Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday and preserve a four-game lead over the Oakland A's in the AL West.
With Oakland's 5-4 win over the New York Yankees earlier Sunday, the Rangers were looking to avoid a sweep by the scuffling Mariners in order to keep their distance over the Athletics with a pivotal four-game series against them beginning in Texas on Monday.
Solo homers by Eric Thames and Brendan Ryan off Dempster (12-7) in the seventh inning were the only blemishes to a strong outing. Dempster went 6 2-3 innings allowing one walk while striking out eight. Joe Nathan earned his 35th save.
The Rangers were again without Josh Hamilton, who has missed the last five games with a sinus issue that's affected his vision. The Rangers had eight hits off Mariners starter Jason Vargas (14-11).
Texas left runners in scoring position in the second and third innings before finally breaking through in the fourth. A solo home run from Napoli gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. After a walk to David Murphy, Soto followed with a 2-run blast into the Texas bullpen in left field.
Two-out singles in the fifth inning from Ryan and Michael Saunders gave Seattle its first runner in scoring position of the game. Franklin Gutierrez worked a full-count against Dempster but flied out to the warning track in left.
Gutierrez and Kyle Seager reached on singles off reliever Mike Adams to lead off the eighth. A chopper to the mound by John Jaso moved the runners to second and third with one out and the Rangers elected to intentionally walk Justin Smoak to load the bases. Adams struck out Thames and induced a lazy fly ball to center from Luis Jimenez to preserve the one-run lead.
Notes: Hamilton will rejoin the team when it returns to Texas on Monday. Manager Ron Washington said he still isn't sure when Hamilton will be able to return to the lineup. ... The Mariners are 1 for their last 40 with runners in scoring position. ... Texas earned its 90th win of the season for the third consecutive year and sixth time in franchise history. Texas has won the season series over Seattle five straight times and in eight of the last nine seasons. ... Seattle has homered in each of its last 13 games, a season high. ... Vargas has allowed 35 home runs this season.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)