Rangers-Mariners Preview

It's been two weeks since the Texas Rangers last dropped back-to-back games.

To prevent that from happening again, they likely must find a way to get the best of Seattle's Felix Hernandez and hope Derek Holland can continue his own success.

While the Mariners ace looks to improve to 4-0 against the visiting Rangers this year, Holland tries to win a third consecutive start Thursday.

"I have to go out there and be me," Holland told MLB's official website. "(Hernandez) is a great pitcher, but I have to do what I do. If they get me one run, I have to shut it down."

With Wednesday's 6-0 defeat, Texas (73-65) fell for the eighth time in 26 games. The Rangers, who own a 1 1/2-game lead over Minnesota for the AL's second wild-card spot and are two back of first-place Houston in the West, last dropped two in a row Aug. 25-26 to Toronto.

After hitting four home runs in Tuesday's 9-6 win over Seattle (67-73), the Rangers managed only a Prince Fielder single and struck out 13 times against Vidal Nuno and two relievers.

Texas has totaled 13 hits and fanned 21 times this season against Hernandez (16-8, 3.65 ERA), who has a 2.18 ERA while winning all three meetings. He's yielded three runs over 14 innings in the two at home.

"He is as good as they come in baseball," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

The right-hander has also looked good in posting a 2.81 ERA, striking out 16 and walking one while lasting eight innings each to win his last two starts that both came against Oakland. Perhaps the only negative is that Hernandez yielded three home runs over those contests.

"I think sometimes when a guy is so good, we expect greatness every time out," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. "In this game, it's just not going to happen. The guys that step in the box make money and drive Mercedes Benz, too. Sometimes the bear get you, too. But Felix has been fine."

Adrian Beltre is 1 for 7 and Fielder 2 for 9 against Hernandez in 2015.

Holland (3-1. 2.37) is 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in four starts since missing four months with a shoulder strain. In his first game back Aug. 19, the left-hander allowed two runs and struck out six without a walk in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-2 win over Seattle.

He's been even better while yielding a run and six hits over 17 innings in his last two outings.

"Everything feels good,'' said Holland, who is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last seven starts against the Mariners. "They asked me right after I came back off the DL if I was ready to go. And when you say you're ready to go, it means you're ready to go full steam.''

Mark Trumbo homered off Holland last month, his fifth in 41 at-bats against him. He went 4 for 4 Wednesday and is batting .321 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs while hitting safely in 20 of his last 21 contests.

Robinson Cano is hitting .387 with a homer against Holland.

Teammate Nelson Cruz is second in the majors with 39 homers but could miss a seventh straight contest with a quad injury.

''He's close. You've got to be able to run,'' McClendon said.

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