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AL West Champion Rangers Return Home To Take On Seattle

(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers return home as American League West champions this evening when they begin a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Texas secured its first division title in 11 years on Saturday, then picked up a series win over Oakland on Sunday, as Mitch Moreland hit a three-run and two-run home run to propel the Rangers past the A's, 16-9, in the finale of a four-game set at the Coliseum.

Jeff Francoeur added a solo shot and four RBI while David Murphy hit a two-run homer and drove in four for the Rangers, who took the final three games of the set, including Saturday's contest that helped them clinch the AL West for Texas' first division championship since 1999.

Colby Lewis (12-13) got the win as he gave up just one run on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts over six innings of work.

"I'm here doing what I can to contribute," Moreland said when asked if he'll be on the team's playoff roster. "I've said that from day one, just happy to be here. If they need me for the postseason, I'll be ready."

A big reason behind the Rangers' ascent to the top of the West has been the conversion of left-hander C.J. Wilson, who spent the majority of his career as a reliever before winning 14 games as a starter this season.

Wilson, though, is winless in his last four starts, despite allowing just three earned runs in his last two outings. On Wednesday in Anaheim Wilson surrendered a run and three hits in six innings, but also walked three batters and struck out five in his team's 2-1 win.

The left-hander, who is 14-7 with a 3.15 ERA, is 1-1 in four starts this season against the Mariners and has pitched to a 3.24 ERA in those outings.

Seattle will counter with righty David Pauley, who is 3-8 with a 4.06 ERA. Pauley earned his first win in six starts on Wednesday in Toronto, as he gave up two runs and six hits in six innings.

Pauley is 0-1 in three games (one start) against the Rangers with a 9.39 ERA in those outings.

Seattle snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday when it salvaged the finale of a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, beating the AL East leaders, 6-2, at Tropicana Field.

Even with the win, the Mariners have lost 13 of their last 17 and 25 of their last 35 road games.

Texas is 11-5 against the Mariners this season.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.