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SEA@BAL: Saunders throws six solid frames vs. Orioles

The Rangers and Mariners will square off for the second time this month Monday. This time the three-game series will be at Safeco Field, but the venue shouldn't matter to Kyle Seager, who has dominated Texas this season.

Seager is batting .409 in 66 at-bats against Texas this year with four home runs and 13 RBIs. He has a .458 on-base percentage and a .758 slugging percentage in 16 games vs. the Rangers.

"You throw balls in the dirt, he hits them," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You throw them over his head, he hits them. I might have to walk him. Just haven't had a base open to do it. He always comes up when I can't push another runner closer."

The third baseman went 4-for-11 with two home runs, five RBIs, two walks and just one strikeout when Seattle took two of three games against the Rangers from Aug. 16-18. Seager scored the go-ahead run in both games. The Rangers are 9-7 against the third-place Mariners this season.

"More like a pain in my side," Washington described Seattle. "They've always played us tough. Not just this year, they've always played us tough. It's just one team that plays us tough and they've got pitching to go along with that."

The Mariners will send to the hill Joe Saunders, who is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts this season against the Rangers. He won his last outing against Texas allowing two runs -- one earned -- in 6 2/3 innings in Arlington. Saunders is 1-2 with a 6.53 ERA in four August starts. He allowed four runs on 10 hits in six innings against the A's in his last outing on Tuesday.

Texas will counter with Travis Blackley, who was signed by the Mariners in 2000 as an amateur free agent and made his debut against the Rangers in 2004. Blackley made his Texas debut Tuesday allowing two runs in four innings on 66 pitches against his previous team, the Astros.

"He kept us around," Washington said. "It's been a long time since he competed as a starter. I thought he did a great job of keeping us around. He just ran out of pitches. We had a number for him and he reached it in the fourth inning."

Mariners: Franklin back in lineup
• Nick Franklin returned to the starting lineup after he injured his knee Tuesday in a home-plate collision against the A's. Franklin gashed his knee on the play and needed five stitches. He didn't appear in a game until Saturday as a pinch-hitter.

On Sunday afternoon, Franklin went 0-for-4 and struck out three times in the Mariners' 7-1 loss to the Angels.

Rangers: Martin hopeful to return Monday
• Leonys Martin hopes to return to the lineup Monday during the Mariners series after he sprained his ankle colliding with David Murphy in the outfield Saturday. Martin left the game after the play, but the X-rays were negative.

Worth noting
• The Mariners are 31-29 against the American League West. They haven't posted a winning record within the division since 2009.

• The Rangers remain 2 1/2 games ahead of the A's for first place in the American League West after both teams lost Sunday.

• The Rangers are 41-16 against the American League West, the highest winning percentage and most wins for any Major League team in its own division.

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