Cano is having quite an impact in his first stretch run with wild card-contending Seattle, with his first four-RBI game for the Mariners putting them up big early on the way to a 10-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
"This is a game that really mattered for us. If we want to stay in the race, we've got to start early," Cano said. "When they're out of the race, you don't want to play around with them."
The Mariners, coming off consecutive one-run wins at AL wild card leader Oakland, stayed a half-game behind Detroit for the second wild card. Detroit won 11-4 in 11 innings at Cleveland.
"I thought it was important that they came out with a lot of energy, a lot of focus, and played up to their ability and not get caught up in a lot of different things," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
While long a forgone conclusion, the Rangers (53-87) became the first team in the majors eliminated from playoff contention after their sixth loss in a row. They went to their second consecutive World Series only three years ago.
Rookie left-hander Roenis Elias (10-12) allowed a run in five innings to become the fourth Seattle starter with at least 10 wins.
Cano had a two-run single in Seattle's six-run outburst in the second against Robbie Ross (2-6), all with two outs. Cano's two-out double an inning later, the first extra-base hit for the Mariners, drove in two more to make it 9-0.
In the first season of his $240 million, 10-year deal after leaving the Yankees in free agency, Cano is hitting .322 with 32 doubles, 13 home runs and 75 RBIs through 134 games. He had 23 games with at least four RBIs during his nine seasons in New York, and his career high is six.
Texas used six pitchers, including two more making their big league debuts to increase the Rangers' major league record totals to 40 pitchers used and 63 players overall this season.
Chris Denorfia homered in the seventh, his first in 20 games with the Mariners since being acquired from San Diego at the end of July.
After throwing five no-hit innings in his previous start Saturday at Houston, Ross allowed an infield single to Austin Jackson leading off the game. But the Mariners didn't score in the first, and the first two batters were out in the second before seven in a row reached to chase Ross.
"He just couldn't execute a pitch to get out of that inning," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He just couldn't command the baseball."
FOUR TIMES 10
It is the first time since 2003 that the Mariners have had at least four 10-game winners. Elias joined Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Young this season. Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels are the only other American League teams with four 10-game winners.
BIT OF A HIGH PITCH
Texas RHP Lisalverto Bonilla is sure to remember his first major league pitch, one home plate umpire Vic Carapazza would rather forget. Bonilla's first pitch bounced well in front of the plate and hit the ump in well, a rather delicate spot. Carapazza took a few minutes to gather himself before the game resumed. That was to start the sixth, two innings after Spencer Patton also made his big league debut for the Rangers.
Mariners: McClendon said Young (12-7) will start Saturday night as scheduled. "The ball came out good. He's healthy," McClendon said Thursday, a day after Young's regular bullpen session. There were questions about Young's health, and possible fatigue, after he gave up eight runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings his last two starts.
Rangers: Yu Darvish, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 9 because of right elbow inflammation, was evaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. The Rangers expect to have a report on their ace Friday. With only 3 1/2 weeks left, it is likely Darvish will not start another game this season. ... C Robinson Chirinos (stiff neck), who missed his fourth game in a row, and RHP Miles Mikolas (right shoulder) both got injections. Chirinos is day to day and Mikolas will begin a throwing program when his symptoms dissipate.
Iwakuma (13-6), who is 8-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his last 12 starts, starts for the Mariners in the second game of the four-game set.
Rangers scheduled starter Scott Baker (3-3) has won his last three appearances (first in relief and then two starts) after pitching in losses in each of his first 20 outings for Texas.