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Yu Darvish's trip to the disabled list last month caused more than a bit of consternation for the Texas Rangers, but the Japanese right-hander has returned with a flourish. Darvish will go for his fifth win in six starts since coming off the DL when he opposes the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series. Darvish was magnificent in his last outing, giving up one hit and striking out a career-high 15 to boost his major league-leading strikeout total to 207.
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was hitless in five games entering the series, but the sight of Rangers Ballpark brings out the best in him. Seager has homered and knocked in two runs in each of the first two games to run his hitting streak in Texas to 13 games, which includes four homers and 17 hits in 32 at-bats this season. Dustin Ackley has also come alive at the plate, going 13-for-32 in his last nine games to raise his batting average from .213 to .235.
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Erasmo Ramirez (4-0, 7.06 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Yu Darvish (12-5, 2.64)
Ramirez has one relief appearance wedged during a four-start winning streak to remain unbeaten despite an unsightly ERA. He has yet to go past six innings and lasted 5 1/3 frames in his last turn, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out a season-high seven at Tampa Bay. Ramirez made two relief appearances against Texas in April 2012, allowing two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Darvish won his third consecutive start with an overpowering performance against Houston - the 15 strikeouts marked the third time in four starts that he has fanned at least 11. He has permitted four runs and 14 hits in 22 innings during the winning streak and his only loss in five starts since returning from a back strain was a 1-0 defeat at Cleveland. Darvish is 7-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 13 home starts.
1. Darvish is is 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA in six career starts versus Seattle and has had trouble with 3B Seager, who is 6-for-16 with four doubles and seven RBIs against him.
2. Seattle's offense comes alive with Ramirez on the mound, amassing 30 runs in his five starts.
3. Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre had seven multiple-hit games in his last 10 and a nine-game hitting streak versus the Mariners.
PREDICTION: Rangers 6, Mariners 2