SEATTLE -- Seattle pitcher James Paxton had two goals heading into his final start of the season: to go over 200 strikeouts and reach 160 innings pitched.
He accomplished both.
Paxton quickly checked off the first item, striking out leadoff batter Jurickson Profar to become the sixth pitcher in team history to reach 200. In his second start back since missing time after a bout with pneumonia, he also reached his other goal, allowing one run and striking out nine over six innings as the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 on Saturday night.
"I felt a lot better. Felt like I had my energy back," Paxton said. "It was great to get 160 innings like I wanted to do. Getting 200 strikeouts was special. I'm looking forward to building off this season and getting where we want to get to next year."
Seattle's ace becomes the first Mariners pitcher to reach the 200 strikeout mark since Felix Hernandez in 2014. He also finished the season with a career-high 160 1/3 innings pitched. He wasn't able to equal last season's career-high 12 wins, as the no-decision left him at 11-6.
Mariners closer Edwin Diaz also reached a milestone with his league-leading 57th save, tying Bobby Thigpen's 1990 mark for second-most all time.
"It's an unbelievable number," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "He's just a special talent."
Nick Vincent (4-4) pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the win.
Paxton had three strikeouts in the first inning, but also gave up Adrian Beltre's run-scoring double as the Rangers took a 1-0 lead.
Texas starter Adrian Sampson -- who grew up in Redmond, just outside of Seattle -- nearly stole the spotlight from Paxton, holding Seattle scoreless through four innings. The Mariners tied the game in the fifth on Mitch Haniger's sacrifice fly, and then roared ahead in the seventh.
Dee Gordon hit a two-out triple to give Seattle the lead and end Sampson's outing. Jean Segura and Robinson Cano each had RBI singles later in the inning to give the Mariners a three-run lead.
Sampson (0-3) ended up allowing three runs and seven hits, with four strikeouts and no walks.
"It was disappointing not to be able to win that battle right there," said Samson, who estimated he left about 60 tickets for friends and family. "Hats off to Dee right there. Just throwing the same pitch just one too many times, he made me pay for it."
Seattle improved to 88-73, equaling the sixth-best win total in team history. "It is a little bit of a disappointment, but at the end of the day, 88, 89 wins, whatever we end up with, it is an accomplishment," Servais said. "It's one of the better years in Mariners history. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten over the hump, and that's getting back to the postseason."
Rangers: Trainers checked on LF Carlos Tocci in the fifth inning, after he hit the wall catching Haniger's sacrifice fly and stayed down on the warning track in pain after the play. Tocci remained in the game. ... Interim manager Don Wakamatsu said he thinks Nomar Mazara continues to be hampered by his thumb. Mazara missed nearly a month on the disabled list with a right thumb sprain, and is hitting .220 since returning on Aug. 16. "We think he's on the right track," Wakamatsu said. "Obviously the biggest thing over the winter is going to be evaluating that thumb and making sure he's healthy going into spring training."
Mariners: Gordon returned to the lineup in CF after missing three straight games with a sore toe after fouling a pitch off his foot Tuesday.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 6.40 ERA) will make his 18th start. He has taken the loss in each of his last four starts and is 1-6 in his last eight starts.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.93) will close out Seattle's season with his third start. Elias, who has also made 19 relief appearances, has not gone longer than 3 2/3 innings in any start this season.
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