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09/19/10 1:20 AM ET

Rangers aim to contain Ichiro in finale

Even though the Mariners have long been out of contention behind the first-place Rangers in the American League West, Ichiro Suzuki certainly has something to play for the rest of the season.

With two hits in Saturday's 6-1 loss to Texas, Ichiro leads the Majors with 193 hits and is seven hits away from extending his Major League record to 10 straight years with 200 hits or more. And he'll be looking to add to that total on Sunday when the Mariners host the Rangers at Safeco Field.

If he holds on and leads the Majors with hits again -- he leads the Yankees' Robinson Cano by eight hits -- he'll also extend his impressive streak of leading baseball in hits for the fifth straight season and seventh time overall.

It's put him in elite company, as he joins Ty Cobb (seven), Pete Rose (seven), Stan Musial (five) and Tony Gwynn (five) as the only players during the modern era to lead the Majors in hits five or more times in a career. He's also the only player to lead the Majors in hits in four straight seasons.

He also reached the 3,500 hit-plateau in his pro career with his leadoff singe in the first inning of Saturday's game, as it was his 2,222nd hit in the United States after compiling 1,278 hits while in Japan. To put it context, only five Major League hitters have at least 3,500 career hits: Rose (4,256), Cobb (4,191), Hank Aaron (3,771), Musial (3,630) and Tris Speaker (3,515).

He's also fared well against Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter, who starts Sunday opposite right-hander Doug Fister, as he has a .400 batting average (8-for-20) against him in his career.

Rangers: Hunter back on the hill after rest
Hunter, who is 12-3 with a 3.97 ERA this season, will be pitching on seven days' rest. He's also had success against the Mariners this season and throughout his career, as he is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts against Seattle this season and 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA in six career starts.

Mariners: Fister going for first win vs. Texas
Fister will be out to keep his ERA under 4.00, as the rookie right-hander enters Sunday's start with a 3.95 ERA but a 5-12 record. He struggled a bit in his last outing, allowing five runs in 7 1/3 innings against the Red Sox on Monday. He'll also be looking for his first career win against the Rangers after going 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA against Texas in three career starts.

Worth noting
Rangers catcher Bengie Molina started his third straight game on Saturday. Manager Ron Washington said Matt Treanor will start the next two or three games behind the plate. ... Mariners slugger Russell Branyan was out of the lineup for the second straight game after experiencing lingering stiffness in his lower back. "He came in yesterday a little bit stiff, so we'll give him another day and see how he is tomorrow," interim manager Daren Brown said. Branyan leads the Mariners with 25 homers and a .487 slugging percentage this year.

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


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