Rookie star Julio Rodriguez hit two hits in his return to the lineup with the Seattle Mariners, who beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 on Friday night to provisionally clinch the first wild-card spot in the American League.
The 21-year-old Dominican, who had an impressive showing in the All-Star Home Run Derby, sat out the previous 11 games with a wrist injury.
In the fourth inning, the center fielder broke the tie with a short single to right field with the bases loaded. He was the first batter to face Jose Leclerc, who had relieved Taylor Hearn (5-7).
George Kirby (4-3) got his second straight win. The rookie gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings.
Seattle’s win, combined with Toronto’s loss to Cleveland, gave the Mariners a half-game lead over the Blue Jays.
For the Rangers, the Cuban Adolis García 4-2. Dominicans Leody Taveras 4-0 and Ezequiel Durán 4-2, one scored.
For the Mariners, the Dominicans Julio Rodríguez 4-2, two produced, and Carlos Santana 4-1, one scored. The Venezuelan Eugenio Suárez 4-1, an RBI.