Jordan Montgomery pitched seven scoreless innings, switch-hitting All-Star catcher Jonah Heim drove in yet another run and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Saturday night.
The Rangers (86-68) won their fourth game in a row, including the first two games in the crucial series that began with the division rivals tied for the American League's third and final wild-card spot. Texas took over the AL West lead for the first time in September after winning the series opener and now has a 1 1/2-game lead after Houston lost its second home game in a row to 102-loss Kansas City.
Montgomery (10-11), the left-hander acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the deadline, struck out six and walked two while scattering five hits. He is 4-2 in his 10 starts for the Rangers.
Jose Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman finished off the Rangers' 12th shutout of the season. Leclerc pitched the eighth and gave up a one-out single in the ninth before the hard-throwing Chapman worked around a walk for his sixth save in 11 chances.
Seattle (84-70) didn't get a runner past second base while being held scoreless for the eighth time this season. The Mariners remained a half-game behind the Astros (85-70), who are currently in the third wild-card spot.
Mariners starter Logan Gilbert (13-7) allowed two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings, with two strikeouts and four walks. One of those free passes was intentional, but he had entered the game with a 5.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio that was fifth in the majors. He struck out 10 over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers in May.
All-Star slugger Adolis García, in his fifth game back after missing 10 games with a patellar tendon strain in his right knee, scored both Rangers runs. He had a one-out double in the second inning before coming home on Mitch Garver's single. In the fourth, Garcia walked and stole second base before an opposite-field single to left by Heim. It was Heim's 92nd RBI of the season, and his 15th over his last 11 games.
Texas is 7-1 against the Mariners, clinching the season series even though the teams still play five more times. They have the series finale Sunday and meet again for four games in Seattle to end the regular season. In between, the Rangers play at the Los Angeles Angels and the Mariners host reigning World Series champion Houston.
The Rangers play their regular-season home finale, with All-Star RHP Nathan Eovaldi (11-4, 3.05 ERA) making his fifth start since missing seven weeks with a right forearm strain. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA over 12 innings since his return. Mariners rookie RHP Bryan Woo (4-4, 3.90) allowed six runs in two innings at Texas on June 3, but over his last six starts has a 2.27 ERA with 28 strikeouts and an opponents batting average of .186.
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