MLB

Rangers-Mariners Preview

A.J. Griffin's first start in three years wasn't a work of beauty, but it was effective and ended the Texas Rangers' losing streak.

He now attempts to build on that effort and help the Rangers sweep this three-game series with the punchless Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

Griffin went 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA and a team-high 171 strikeouts in 200 innings for Oakland in 2013, his only full season in the majors. He missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and the four appearances he made last year came in the A's minor league system.

That long road to recovery finally ended Friday, when the right-hander allowed three runs in six innings of a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

"I don't even know how to put that into words, but it was a grind," Griffin said. "And to be able to get out here and have the opportunity again is just fantastic.

"I took my time this past offseason and just got my body into the right shape for pitching. I'm not a supermodel or anything, but I'm in good pitching shape and I feel really good."

He's 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA in five career starts against the Mariners but hasn't faced them since Aug. 21, 2013.

The Rangers (5-4) are having little trouble with Seattle (2-6), holding a 15-3 scoring edge and a .351 average in this series after Tuesday's 8-0 rout.

That kind of production would go a long way for Griffin, who is 19-0 in 21 career starts in which he's backed by more than three runs.

Since scoring 19 runs in consecutive wins at Texas, the Mariners have totaled seven during a five-game skid and are 0-5 at home for the first time in franchise history.

''We've got to find a way to get back on our game,'' manager Scott Servais said. ''It's the same team that played five, six days ago. I'm pretty sure our roster hasn't changed. We have to pick ourselves up. We have a lot of games left to play. It's a long season ahead.''

Slowing down Adrian Beltre would surely help Servais' team get back in the win column. The third baseman is 10 for 27 (.370) with nine RBIs in his last eight games against his former team, hitting a three-run homer and a two-run double Tuesday.

Seattle gives the ball to Taijuan Walker, who has allowed Beltre to go 4 for 8 with two doubles off him. The right-hander has also had a tough time with Prince Fielder and Rougned Odor, who are a combined 9 for 18 in the matchup.

Walker was hammered in his only career home start against Texas on Sept. 8, surrendering six runs and three homers in three-plus innings of a 9-6 loss. He's 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three road matchups - two starts.

He didn't get a decision in his season debut against Oakland on Friday, allowing two runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss. Walker worked his way out of jams in the first two innings, stranding four runners without yielding a run.

"I feel that's kind of where I matured this year, just controlling my emotions and really just making good pitches to get out of big jams like that," Walker told MLB's official website.

Robinson Cano is 2 for 20 with six strikeouts over the last five games after his first four hits of the season in 13 at-bats went for homers, driving in seven runs.

He's 0 for 8 in this series after batting .341 with six homers and 13 RBIs during his previous 11 matchups with the Rangers.

Cano is 3 for 8 versus Griffin.

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