Harrison wins 17th as Rangers beat Mariners 2-1

Associated Press Modified: September 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm •  Published: September 16, 2012
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The sun finally peeked through the clouds and a rainbow appeared beyond center field soon after the Texas Rangers finished playing.

All around, it was a bright ending to a drizzly Sunday.

Matt Harrison came within one out of a complete game for his 17th victory and the Rangers beat Seattle 2-1, adding to their AL West lead over Oakland for the first time in 10 days.

"The only thing we can do is keep winning series, and do what we've been doing the past month," Harrison said. "The way they're playing, we've just go to keep going."

On his 27th birthday, Harrison (17-9) became the fourth American League pitcher to 17 victories.

Adrian Beltre hit his 33rd homer and Mitch Moreland had an RBI double to back the All-Star lefty who has won nine consecutive starts against Seattle since May 2010.

"Glad we got two runs to support him a little bit," catcher Mike Napoli said. "Overall, everything was pretty good. He had a good changeup, mixed in a couple of curveballs and backdoor sliders. For the most part, he was throwing strikes and missing barrels."

With runners on first and third and two outs in the ninth, Koji Uehara struck out Michael Saunders to end the game. It Uehara's first save for Texas since being traded from Baltimore in July 2011.

The start of the game was delayed 2 hours and 12 minutes by rain. A light drizzle was still falling when Harrison threw the first pitch, and persisted through the game that took only 2 hours and 20 minutes to play.

Two-time defending AL champion Texas (87-59) has the league's best record, and now has a three-game division lead over Oakland. The A's lost for only the second time in 10 games Sunday, 9-5 at home against Baltimore.

Texas had a 5½-game lead on Sept. 6 after winning at Kansas City, gaining a half-game that day on the idle A's. Before Sunday's games, that lead had shrunk to two games — the Rangers' smallest since April 13, a week into the season.

"They're playing unbelievable," Harrison said. "We've just got to keep winning series."

Texas has won eight of its last nine series, and hasn't lost consecutive games in more than a month.

The Rangers have their final off day of the regular season Monday. They start a three-game series Tuesday at the Los Angeles Angels, before spending next weekend in Seattle and then playing seven of their last 10 games against the A's.

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