ARLINGTON, Texas -- Another big sixth inning by the Texas Rangers ended a long dry spell for Nick Bierbrodt.
The Rangers scored five runs in the sixth inning and Bierbrodt pitched six strong innings to win for the first time in more than two years and send the Rangers to their fifth straight victory, 6-3 over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, Texas scored six in sixth on the way to a 10-2 win.
"My job is to keep the game close," Bierbrodt said. "I know this offense will eventually score some runs."
The Rangers (39-29) are 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1999 season, when they last went to the playoffs.
Rich Aurilia homered and Jolbert Cabrera had three hits for the Mariners, who have lost six of eight games to the Rangers this season.
Texas trailed 2-1, but scored five runs in the sixth inning. Rod Barajas' RBI single gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead in an inning where they sent 10 batters to the plate and got five hits.
"For whatever reason, we have a tough time against these guys," Seattle starter Ryan Franklin said. "We have to find a way to get a win before we get out of here."
The big sixth inning made Bierbrodt (1-0) a winner for the first time since Oct. 4, 2001, when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The former first-round draft pick allowed two runs and five hits in just his second big league start of the season.
Bierbrodt, who is now 6-8 in his career, took the win in stride.
"I pitched last year and had some chances, but it just didn't happen," the left-hander said. "It's not like I was going for my 300th win."
Carlos Almanzar pitched two innings in relief of Bierbrodt, and Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 21st save in 23 opportunities.
Bierbrodt has had more than his share of adversity between wins.
In June 2002 while in the minors, he was shot twice at a drive-through restaurant. The bullets went through Bierbrodt's right arm and chest and settled in his liver. Both remain there.
He opened the 2003 season in the majors, but went 0-2 with a 9.14 ERA with Tampa Bay and Cleveland.
Bierbrodt began this season in the Rangers' farm system. He gave up three runs in six innings last Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds in his other 2004 major league start.
Bierbrodt threw 88 pitches -- 48 for strikes -- while relying primarily on his fastball. He also mixed in some sinkers that helped him get 12 ground-ball outs.
"It's good to have another left-hander in the lineup," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll see where this start takes him."
Franklin (3-5) gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits and struck out four.
Aurilia's solo shot in the sixth gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead. Then the Rangers loaded the bases off Franklin with no outs.
Gary Matthews Jr. had a sacrifice fly to tie the score and Barajas blooped a single just over the infield for a 3-2 lead.
Jason Conti chased Franklin with an RBI bunt single. Hank Blalock and Alfonso Soriano had consecutive run-scoring singles off reliever Julio Mateo to give Texas a 6-2 lead.
"I made the pitches where I wanted," Franklin said. "Everything just kind of snowballed on me."
Ichiro Suzuki had an RBI groundout in the seventh for Seattle.
The Mariners, last in the American League in runs, were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position Wednesday. They are 0-for-14 in the past two games.
Leadoff hitter Randy Winn and Cabrera, who batted second, each reached base three times but combined to score only run.
"Our one and two hitters are doing an outstanding job," Melvin said. "We're just haven't been able to drive them in once they get on."
Michael Young doubled to lead off the game and scored on Blalock's RBI single. But Seattle tied the game on Cabrera's RBI groundout.
Notes Melvin thought the Mariners had a home
run in the fifth on Hiram Bocachica's single off the wall. He argued the
call to no avail. Replays showed the ball hit the yellow line. ...
Texas' Blalock and Mark Teixeira had three hits apiece. .... Seattle has
lost six straight at Texas.
The Associated Press News Service
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