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Dempster fans eight in his 11th win

Only four days separated last week's series between the Rangers and Mariners and this week's three-game set.

But the Rangers team the Mariners have faced this week is much different than the one it saw last weekend. Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre -- Texas' No. 3 and No. 4 hitters -- combined for six hits, three of them doubles by Hamilton and a home run from Beltre in the three games against Seattle less than a week ago, two of them Rangers wins.

Now, however, with Beltre hobbled and Hamilton out of the lineup, the Mariners have turned the tables and are one victory away from sweeping the Rangers for the first time in nearly four years.

Beltre is playing through pain from a buildup of scar tissue from an appendix surgery he underwent 12 years ago that my require offseason surgery. He missed Friday's series opener and went 1-for-4 in Saturday's 1-0 loss. Hamilton has missed each of his team's past three games with sinus issues that are affecting his vision, and he is in Texas undergoing tests.

"The good thing is the pain is not like it was, it's doing better," Beltre said. "I feel better physically. I just feel a little weak. ... For the most part, I'm doing a lot better."

Ryan Dempster, who gave up five runs on six hits over 3 1/3 innings of an 11-3 loss to the Angels on Tuesday, will take the mound for the Rangers on Sunday. He was 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his previous starts and will be protecting a four-game lead in the AL West over the A's, who have lost five of their past six games.

The players in the Rangers clubhouse erupted after Yankees outfielder Raul Ibanez's game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning against the A's before Saturday's game. Reporters were talking to manager Ron Washington when Ibanez went deep and the Yankees went on to triumph in 14 innings, 10-9.

"There ain't nothing I can do about it," Washington said. "We have our hands full with Seattle."

Jason Vargas will make his AL-leading 32nd start for the Mariners in Sunday's series finale. His last start also came against the Rangers, who saddled him with four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings for a no-decision in an 8-6 Mariners victory.

Vargas passed the 200-innings mark in that game, marking the second straight season he has accomplished the feat. He is 14-10 with a 3.92 ERA, striking out 131 and walking 53 in 204 2/3 innings this season.

"It's a great feeling," Vargas said. "I feel like if I'm able to do that, then I'm really contributing and going out there and giving our team a chance to win ballgames and being a significant part of the team."

"To pitch 200 innings in the big leagues is a big deal. It's not something you can just brush off," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "That means a lot. It means somebody you can count on. He's done a better job this year taking care of himself. He's stronger. His routine is better. And I think he really believes how good he is and that's a good thing."

Rangers: Napoli gets first action at first base since coming off DL
Mike Napoli missed 33 games with a strained quad and, entering Saturday, had played four games since coming off the disabled list last weekend -- starting three at catcher and the other at designated hitter. He wasn't expected to see any action at first base in Saturday's game against the Mariners but moved there for the eighth inning for the first time since being placed on the DL last month.

"When I was playing him at first, I really didn't have it totally covered," Washington said before Saturday's game. "Now, I got it covered. [Napoli] just has to concentrate on catching and hitting."

• Matt Harrison allowed only one run on seven hits over eight innings on Sunday against the Mariners but fell to 17-10 as the Rangers were shut out for the fifth time this year, losing 1-0. That meant Harrison, who had won his last nine starts against Seattle, was denied a chance to tie Kenny Rogers for the most wins in a season by a Rangers left-hander (18).

Harrison and Yu Darvish have combined for 33 wins this year, the second-most in the Majors and the most by a Rangers duo since Rick Helling and Aaron Sele won a collective 39 games in 1998.

Mariners: Ackley expected to be back in lineup for series finale
Second baseman Dustin Ackley missed Saturday's game against the Rangers with a sore neck but should start in Sunday's series finale. He left Friday's game after three innings when he felt some tightness. The Mariners are 48-41 when he bats leadoff this year.

"He's better, but still needs another day," Wedge said. "He should be OK for tomorrow. He woke up with it yesterday and it just got worse as we got into the game. So instead of pushing it and really taking a chance on missing some time, we got him out of there."

Worth noting
• Rangers DH Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth-inning single on Sunday. He his batting .425 during the streak.

• Luis Jimenez, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Sept. 4, got his third start this year at designated hitter on Saturday, batting eighth and going 0-for-3. Comments