Rangers falter in season finale in 1-0 loss to Seattle, allows Houston to win AL West
George Kirby allowed only three hits in six innings, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 1-0 and allowed Houston to win the American League West title
SEATTLE (AP) — George Kirby allowed only three hits in six innings, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 1-0 on Sunday and allowed Houston to win the American League West title.
A day after clinching the ninth postseason berth in franchise history, Texas only needed a win over the Mariners to wrap up the AL West. But the loss opened the door for Houston to draw even on the final day and grab the division title thanks to holding the tiebreaker over the Rangers.
The Astros beat Arizona 8-1 and sent the Rangers to Tampa Bay as a wild-card team for the opening round of the playoffs.
The Rangers couldn’t solve Kirby, who closed the regular season with 12 scoreless innings over his final two starts against Houston and Texas. Evan Carter’s two-out double in the third inning was the first hit for the Rangers, but he was the only runner to reach second base. Adolis García and Jonah Heim both singled, but that was all the offense the Rangers could manage.
Kirby (13-10) struck out seven and needed just 75 pitches to get through six innings.
Prelander Berroa and Trent Thornton worked the seventh and eighth innings, and Isaiah Campbell earned his first big league save in the ninth as Seattle pitched its its MLB-best 18th shutout to close the season in just 2 hours, 1 minute.
Dane Dunning (12-7) started on three days' rest for Texas and worked 3 2/3 innings. He ran into trouble in the fourth with back-to-back singles by Eugenio Suárez and Jarred Kelenic and a walk to Ty France loading the bases.
Suárez scored on Dominic Canzone’s infield ground out, sliding just under Heim’s tag attempt at the plate.
Kirby had talked back in spring training of having a knuckleball in his pitch mix, but never threw it until the first pitch to Corey Seager leading off the fourth inning. Seager swung and missed at the 73 mph pitch.
Suárez, Seattle's third baseman, and Texas shortstop Marcus Semien both finished the season appearing in all 162 games.
Suárez is the fifth different Mariners player to accomplish the feat an the first since Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.
Semien is the 11th Texas player to appear in every game and the second to start every game of the season in the field, joining Ruben Sierra in 1989.
Corey Seager lost the AL batting title on the final day to Tampa Bay’s Yandy Díaz, who didn’t start in the Rays’ season finale. Seager went 0 for 4 and finished at .327. He started the day leading Díaz .3298 to .3295.
Seattle finished the regular season with an unofficial home attendance of 2,690,931. That’s a significant jump from 2,287,267 last season and the highest attendance for Seattle since 2,725,459 in 2005.
Rangers: Will await their postseason fate.
Mariners: Seattle’s spring training opener is on Feb. 24 against the Chicago White Sox.
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