Mariners lose in Lee’s return to Seattle
SEATTLE — Cliff Lee shut down his former teammates for eight innings in his first start in Seattle since a July trade, and the first-place Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 6-1 Saturday night.
Lee (12-8) allowed six hits and struck out eight for his second consecutive win after three losses and a no decision. Lee improved to 4-5 with the Rangers as they close in on their first postseason berth since 1999.
Bengie Molina had three hits and two RBIs and Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run double to lead the A.L. West-leading Rangers.
The Rangers acquired Lee and reliever Mark Lowe July 9 from the Mariners for first base prospect Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers.
Lee improved to 10-1 in 13 career starts against the Mariners. He has 25 strikeouts and one walk (on Saturday) in his last five appearances against Seattle.
Seattle’s Franklin Gutierrez hit a solo homer in the seventh.
The Mariners had runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth after Smoak singled and Josh Bard doubled. But Lee retired the next three batters with a strikeout, popout and foul flyout.
Smoak, who was called up Saturday from Triple-A Tacoma, started at first and went 1 for 3 against Lee with a single.
Jason Vargas (9-11) took his sixth straight loss. He allowed nine hits and five runs in six innings.
Lee stopped Seattle a game after Felix Hernandez took a no-hitter into the eighth and beat the Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.
Lee went 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts for Seattle after being picked up in an offseason trade with Philadelphia. Lee is a free agent after this season.
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