Mariners dance their way back to .500 behind another offensive onslaught in Texas, 8-1

Mike Zunino gets Seattle rolling offensively with the first of his two home runs, giving him 23 for the season

ARLINGTON, Texas — Fittingly, the two-step continued in Texas.

The Mariners’ nonstop, second-half dance around the .500 mark has moved two steps forward the past two days for an even 73-73 record after the 8-1 trouncing Wednesday of the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

Seattle’s offense continued to torment Texas pitching for a second consecutive game, banging out 11 hits, including three homers — two by Mike Zunino. Over the past two games, the Mariners have scored 18 runs on 26 hits as they try to hit their way into the wild-card race.

THURSDAY

M’s @ Rangers, 5:05 p.m., ROOT

Despite victories the past two nights, the Mariners have not moved any closer to the Twins, who hold the second wild-card spot, and remain 3½ games back. However, the Mariners did move ahead of the Rangers and Royals, who are both 72-73.

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“We’ve got 16 games left, and they are all important,” manager Scott Servais said. “We really have to focus on what we can do and how we compete and how we attack the rest of this road trip. It’s a really, really important time of the year.

“Guys have busted their tail to put themselves in this position to play meaningful games. We are going to enjoy it, stay aggressive and see what happens. I think our urgency is there, and it needs to be there. It’s been a while since the Mariners have been in the playoffs, we are well aware.”

The run support Wednesday was more than enough for the Seattle pitchers. Mike Leake improved to 3-0 in three starts as a Mariner. The veteran right-hander pitched 52/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

Leake worked out of trouble spots in the first two innings and held Texas scoreless through five. The Rangers put runners on first and third with one out in…

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