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Guess Jose’s Ok; Just Ask The Mariners

The better Juan Gonzalez felt, the worse it got for the Seattle Mariners.

After he arrived at the Kingdome, Gonzalez complained to the Texas training staff that his nagging back injury was flaring up and said he probably wouldn’t be able to play.

But Gonzalez felt fine after a good batting practice session, well enough to hit two homers and drive in five runs in the Rangers’ 10-2 win over the Mariners.

“I felt some sharp pain before the game, but I wanted to stay in and help the team if at all possible,” Gonzalez said.

Kevin Gross (3-7) pitched a sixhitter as the Rangers ended their eight-game losing streak to the Mariners. Gonzalez had a two-run double in the fourth inning, a two-run homer in the seventh and a solo shot in the eighth. He went 4 for 5 in his 15th career game with two or more homers.

“I’ve been swinging the bat very well for probably the last week or so,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez is batting .381 (16 for 42) in the last 10 games with five homers and 13 RBIs. “If the ball’s in the strike zone, he’s hitting it,” Texas manager Johnny Oates said.

Gonzalez missed the first 33 games this year after sustaining a herniated disk in his lower back during spring training. He has played in 25 games since coming off the disabled list, 19 at designated hitter.

Gross had his first complete game of the year and lasted seven innings for just the second time in his 13 starts. He struck out four, walked four and allowed a pair of solo homers by Mike Blowers, one in the second and one in the ninth.

“It feld good,” Gross said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there in the ninth inning.”

Will Clark scored three runs for the Rangers, and Benji Gil homered in the fourth to chase Seattle starter Salomon Torres (2-4).

Otis Nixon opened the game with a walk, stole second and scored on Clark’s single. Mike Pagliarulo hit an RBI single in the second inning, and Rusty Greer broke an 0-for-20 slump with an RBI single in the third to put the Rangers ahead 3-1.

Gil hit a solo homer with one out in the fourth inning, his seventh of the year. With two outs in the inning, Torres walked Mark McLemore and Clark, who both scored on Gonzalez’s double.

Gil added an RBI single in the seventh inning.

Torres allowed eight hits and six runs, all earned, in 3 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.


Texas right-hander Hector Fajardo cleared waivers Friday and was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. … With the win, Texas tied the team record for the best start after 60 games (34-26), also achieved in 1986 and 1992. … Clark has a 10-game hitting streak and has at least one RBI in eight straight games. … Nixon’s stolen base in the first inning broke a stretch of eight straight games without a stolen base for the Rangers, their longest drought of the year. … Seattle’s Rich Amaral is 7 for 7 stealing third base this year and the team is 16-of-17.

Tags: baseball