SEATTLE -- The Texas Rangers entered Saturday afternoon on an interesting streak, which had made life a little dull for members of the bullpen.
The past nine Rangers victories had been by at least five runs. Closer Neftali Feliz hadn't pitched in a save situation since Aug. 30. The primary setup men had pitched only sparingly, and with little on the line.
But the second of three games this weekend at Safeco Field was different. The Rangers were locked in a one-run game from the fifth inning on, and the bullpen was going to determine the outcome.
It didn't miss a beat.
Four relievers recorded the final 10 outs consecutively, and the Rangers' bats came alive in a three-homer third inning that catapulted them to a 7-6 victory over Seattle.
The win, coupled with Los Angeles' loss at Baltimore, pushed the Rangers' lead in the American League West to 4 1/2 games. The Rangers have 10 more games this season, and the Angels have 11.
They will square off in the final three. Those could be tense games, and the bullpen showed Saturday that it will be ready.
"Anytime it's a close game like that, your juices run a little bit more," right-hander Mike Adams said. "To me, it's a lot more fun throwing in a tight game like that.
"I don't think you ever necessarily need a close game. You always appreciate a blowout win. But it's good, because this is going to prepare us for the last few games and hopefully the playoffs."
Darren Oliver, Michael Gonzalez, Adams and Feliz made a winner of Colby Lewis, who allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings in large part due to a few self-proclaimed mental mistakes.
Seattle found itself down 1-0 after a two-out single by Craig Gentry scored Mike Napoli in the second, but the Mariners rebounded against Lewis after he walked the .158-hitting Michael Saunders with two outs.
Lewis' only walk of the game loaded the bases for Ichiro Suzuki, who bounced a single up the middle for a 2-1 lead. Kyle Seager followed with a two-run double to put the Rangers on the ropes.
But the offense quickly gave Lewis a reprieve with three homers in a four-batter span. Elvis Andrus started the third with his fifth homer of the season, and Hamilton followed with a line drive down the right-field line that just got over the wall.
After Michael Young lined out, Adrian Beltre crushed an Anthony Vasquez pitch off the facing of the second deck in left field to tie the score. The Rangers struck for three more in the fourth, two coming on a single by Hamilton.
Lewis (13-10) had settled into a groove, but Mike Carp broke up the smooth ride with a two-run homer in the fifth. Lewis got two outs in the sixth before Oliver replaced him and retired Saunders with the tying run at second base.
"I felt really good, but overall I think I had a couple brain [locks] more than anything," said Lewis, who struck out seven. "I'm glad we won. I'm glad it worked out the way it did. The Angels lost. We inch closer. It was just a weird day."
Oliver struck out the side in the seventh, and Gonzalez got Carp to start the eighth. Adams has handled the eighth against all comers since he was acquired July 31, but manager Ron Washington wanted the lefty-on-lefty matchup.
Adams disposed of the next two hitters, and Feliz struck out two of the three hitters in a perfect ninth.
The Mariners are now 0 for 42 all-time against Feliz, who threw only fastballs to the three overmatched hitters.
"I don't pay attention to that. I just throw strikes and try to get through innings," he said of his success against Seattle. "I have a good feel with my fastball. I don't have to do anything else."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760