Miranda, Lind spur Seattle's gain in WC race

Miranda, Lind spur Seattle's gain in WC race

SEATTLE -- Ariel Miranda turned in his best start since being acquired by the Mariners and Adam Lind ripped a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, as Seattle kept its slim postseason hopes alive with an 8-3 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.

The Rangers (83-57) still hold an 8 1/2 game lead in the American League West with 22 left to play and their magic number to clinch the division is 15 after the Astros lost to the Indians on Wednesday.

The Mariners (71-68) won for just the fourth time in their past 15 games and closed to five games back in the AL Wild Card chase. Texas is now 12-6 against Seattle heading into Thursday's season series finale.

Lind on two-homer game

Miranda, acquired from the Orioles for Wade Miley on July 31, allowed three hits and three unearned runs in six-plus innings as he improved to 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA.

The 27-year-old Cuban sailed through five scoreless innings with one hit before a two-out error on shortstop Ketel Marte in the sixth opened the door for a three-run home run by Carlos Beltran that cut Seattle's lead to 8-3.

"Miranda really got in a nice roll," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "That was probably as crisp and smooth as we've seen him work since he's been here and against a really hot-hitting team. It was a nice effort by everybody all the way around."

Servais on Mariners' big win

Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin lasted just four innings, giving up eight runs on seven hits -- including Lind's two homers and another by Seth Smith -- as he fell to 7-4. Griffin is 4-4 with a 6.29 ERA in 12 starts since coming off the disabled list on July 5 and has allowed 20 homers, the most in the Majors in that span.

"Eight runs down early is a challenge," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Not the night A.J. was looking for. Giving up the grand slam was the big one. We've got one more with these guys, we have to keep playing good baseball."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A slammin' start: Lind's first home run since Aug. 19 was a big one as he cleared the bases with the fourth grand slam of his career with one out in the first. The 33-year-old had hit just .156 over his previous 12 games, but busted out in a big way on an 88 mph fastball on an 0-1 pitch from Griffin. It was Seattle's fourth slam of the season as Lind joined Robinson Cano, Smith and Nelson Cruz in that department. Lind added a solo shot in the third for his 20th home run of the year. More >

"You play enough games, eventually you'll have one or two like that," said Lind.

Lind's second homer of the game

Griffin's unique ratio: Griffin allowed eight runs in four innings, yet he still struck out seven batters. That combination of innings pitched, runs allowed and strikeouts has happened just once in Rangers history. It happened to Aaron Sele on June 13, 1998 in an 18-6 loss to the Angels. More >

Leading man: With some wondering why manager Scott Servais put less-than-fleet left fielder Seth Smith in the leadoff role, the skipper noted before the game he liked Smith's ability to get on base and wanted to get him going before Seattle faces a string of four right-handed starters to open its next road trip. Smith, who had hit .197 in his previous 33 games, made his manager look good as he doubled and scored in the first, walked and scored in the second and ripped a solo home run leading off the fourth. Smith capped a three-hit day with another base hit in the sixth.

"He hasn't really been the true Seth Smith in the second half," said Servais. "Sometimes you get sparked by a good at-bat, drive the ball out of the park. It was a really good game tonight. It was a good matchup for him and a bunch of our left-handed hitters and we took advantage of it."

Smith's solo jack

Beltran stays hot: Beltran extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his three-run home run in sixth inning. Beltre, who finished 2-for-4 with an eighth-inning single, is 18-for-41 (.439) with three home runs during the streak.

"I feel good at the plate and I'm having good at-bats," Beltran said. "I feel comfortable and my lower body feels strong. That's great. I just need to focus on staying in the middle part of the field."

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland pitches for the Rangers against the Mariners at 9:10 p.m. CT Thursday at Safeco Field. Holland is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts since being activated off the disabled list.

Mariners: Taijuan Walker (4-10, 4.60 ERA) will try to rebound from his worst start of his career in Thursday's 7:10 p.m. series finale. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed six hits and five earned runs with three home runs in 2/3 of an inning to the Angels and is 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA over his last three outings..

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.