The Rangers have the best record in the American League this month, thanks in large part to ace right-hander Yu Darvish, who is 3-0 and has allowed just four earned runs on 14 hits in 22 innings.
Darvish, who has struck out 35 and walked just four this month, will oppose Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez in Sunday's rubber game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Darvish threw 7 1/3 no-hit innings in his last start before giving up a first-pitch homer to Houston catcher Carlos Corporan. He had a career-high 15 strikeouts in his bid for the sixth no-hitter in Rangers history and first since Kenny Rogers' perfect game on July 28, 1994.
"It's not like I was trying to get a perfect game, and the things that I do to prepare for the game doesn't change, the last outing was the same," Darvish said.
He is still making history, however, as the only Major League pitcher since 1900 to win two games with 14 or more strikeouts while allowing one or zero hits and one or zero walks. He has 207 strikeouts in 23 starts, which is the fewest starts to reach 200 since Curt Shilling in 2002 (22).
"Anytime a pitcher over the course of a season gets close to 300 strikeouts, it's a heck of a feat," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I don't know how many he struck out in Japan in a year -- he didn't get as many starts as he got here -- but I'm more than certain he didn't strike them out in this many amount of games he's pitched. What he's doing right now is unbelievable. He faces good teams and gets double-figure strikeouts."
Ramirez is 4-0 with a 7.06 ERA in five starts. He allowed seven hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last start, winning a 5-4 decision at Tampa Bay despite a pair of Ben Zobrist homers.
"Like normally happens, they took advantage of some bad pitches," said Ramirez. "But after that and we were winning, my mind was just, it's like a zero-zero go and go as hard as you can. Don't let them feel comfortable. After I gave up the two early runs, I tried to be aggressive with my fastball. You just have to control what you can and be aggressive."
Ramirez has pitched twice in against the Rangers in relief, allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Rangers: Ogando will miss next start, Garza to move up
Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando will not make his start Monday due to inflammation in his right shoulder. He received an injection Saturday.
Matt Garza, scheduled to pitch Tuesday, will now start Monday with regular rest after Thursday's off-day.
Ogando has already been on the disabled list twice this season with triceps tendinitis and shoulder inflammation in his right arm. He's 1-2 with a 4.68 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list on July 23.
Mariners: Franklin expected to return Sunday
Rookie second baseman Nick Franklin was given the day off Saturday, but is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday.
Franklin, who hit .296 with four home runs in his first five weeks after being called up in late May, has seen his average fall to .239 after 65 Major League games. He's hit just .194 (27-for-139) since July 1 with 52 strikeouts in 34 games.
"We'll give Nick a little rest and a work day for him," acting manager Robby Thompson said. "He's been struggling and even more so from the right side. But it's all part of the process of getting back into it."
Veteran shortstop Brendan Ryan got the start in Franklin's place. Rookie Brad Miller moved from shortstop to second base.
• The Rangers have not homered in three straight games and have one home run in the past six games and four in the last 10 games.
• The Mariners are two home runs from matching their season total from last season (149). They've already passed entire season totals from '10 (101) and '11 (109).
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.