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09/17/10 10:26 PM ET

Lee looks to stifle old club

Texas starter Cliff Lee only spent half of a season in Seattle but he was there long enough to make an impression on the organization.

When he takes the mound Saturday, there is little doubt that he's going to remind his former Mariners teammates why the club traded for him last winter and why it hurt so much to trade him to Texas in July.

"It's always a little more competitive when you have a personal relationship with the guy, so I know we have some guys who will be excited to go out there and compete," Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said. "It's like that against anyone we face, but sometimes, when it's against a guy you called a teammate for half the year, there is a little more competitiveness there."

Lee will be ready. He returned from a 12-day break caused by lower back pain to dominate the Yankees on Sunday, allowing only two hits in eight innings. He took a no-hitter into the sixth.

"He was able to get out there and relax a little bit. And he's healthy," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Lee. "He was very efficient."

The Rangers could use another strong outing from Lee down the stretch. The club leads the AL West by nine games and appears on its way to the postseason for the first time since 1999.

Mariners' starter Jason Vargas has his own goals. Snapping his current five-game losing streak has to be at the top of the list. The left-hander allowed only two runs on eight hits in seven innings against the Angels, but he lost, 2-1. He beat Texas on Aug. 3, allowing two runs on three hits in six innings.

"I don't think I've thrown the ball badly, or any worse than I did early [this season]," Vargas said. "Different things happen in the game. The game I threw against the Angels in my last start was one of my better ones."

Rangers: Cruz catching fire
Nelson Cruz hit a solo home run in the eighth inning on Friday to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He is hitting .405 with four home runs, four doubles, six RBIs, three walks and 13 runs during the streak. ... Vladimir Guerrero went 0-for-4 on Friday to snap his hitting streak at 10 games. He hit 429 with five doubles, two home runs and six RBIs during the streak. ... Washington is hoping Josh Hamilton can start taking batting practice on Monday in Anaheim, and can return to the lineup during a four-game series against the Athletics that starts on Thursday in Oakland. ... Jorge Cantu is hitting just .203 (13-for-64) without a home run or RBI since being acquired from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline.

Mariners: Figgins extends streak
Chone Figgins extended his hitting streak to a season-high-tying nine games with an RBI single in the third inning on Friday. He is hitting .459 during the streak. Figgins also stole his 40th base of the season to become the eighth American League player since 1960 with five or more seasons of at least 40 stolen bases. ... Designated hitter Russell Branyan was scratched from Friday night's game because of discomfort in his back. He is listed as day-to-day. ... Right-hander Michael Pineda was selected as the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. First baseman Richard Poythress won the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.

Worth noting
Ichiro Suzuki has played in 177 consecutive games dating back to Sept. 1, 2009, the longest active streak among American League players and the second-longest streak in the Major Leagues behind Dodgers' outfielder Matt Kemp, who has played in 189 consecutive games. Ichiro and Kemp are the only players to play in all of their team's games this season. ... Individual game tickets for possible 2010 American League Division Series games at the Ballpark in Arlington will go on sale at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online at TexasRangers.com on the phone at 972-RANGERS, and in person at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington First Base box office.

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