The Mariners’ Ty France celebrates with his teammates in the dugout after scoring a run off of Mitch Haniger’s sacrifice fly during the first inning of a game against the Rangers on Wednesday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)

The Mariners’ Ty France celebrates with his teammates in the dugout after scoring a run off of Mitch Haniger’s sacrifice fly during the first inning of a game against the Rangers on Wednesday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)

Mariners beat Rangers, reduce magic number to 3

Seattle wins 3-1 as it closes in on its first playoff berth since 2001

Associated Press

SEATTLE — George Kirby allowed one run over six innings, Eugenio Suarez had three hits and an RBI and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Trying to secure a playoff spot for the first time since 2001, Seattle rebounded after dropping the series opener Tuesday night.

The Mariners got a boost in the playoff picture when every other team in the American League wild-card race lost. Baltimore dropped 4.5 games behind the Mariners for the final wild-card spot. The Mariners are a half-game behind Tampa Bay and two back of Toronto for the top wild card.

Kirby (8-4) was coming off his worst start of the season, when he gave up five earned runs in 2.1 innings against Oakland. He returned to form against Texas, allowing just one run on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Kirby extended his franchise record to 14 starts without allowing a home run, the longest such streak in the majors this year.

Josh Jung had an RBI single in the first inning for Texas’ lone run. Jung has driven in all six of Texas’ runs in the first two games of the series.

The Mariners scored twice in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Suarez and a sacrifice fly from Mitch Haniger.

Seattle loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but was only able to push across one run on a ground out by Carlos Santana. It was still enough, as Kirby and the bullpen kept the Rangers scoreless after the opening inning.

Seattle relievers Eric Swanson, Andres Munoz and Paul Sewald each pitched a perfect inning to close out the game, with Sewald picking up his 20th save.

TRAINER’S ROOM

MARINERS: OF Julio Rodriguez could start resuming some baseball activity on Thursday and definitely by Friday, manager Scott Servais said. Rodriguez has been out with a lower back strain but the goal is to have him activated off the injured list when he’s eligible next Monday.

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