SEATTLE -- While other American League teams -- most notably the Athletics and the Angels -- are struggling to find a closer, the Rangers have not had to worry about that. Joakim Soria nailed down his sixth save in the Rangers' 6-3 victory over the Mariners on Saturday night.
There are 11 relievers in the American League who went into Sunday with at least four saves. Soria was one of three without a blown save. The others were Greg Holland of the Royals and Koji Uehara of the Red Sox. Joe Nathan, who was the Rangers' closer the past two years, is 4-for-6 with a 5.59 ERA for the Tigers.
"I never doubted Soria could close games, I've been saying that since Spring Training," manager Ron Washington said. "Sometimes know-how is better than velocity. He may not have velocity but he gets it done. You always want somebody at the end but not anybody can close a ballgame. You need somebody who knows how to do it."
Soria was an All-Star closer for the Royals in 2007-11 before missing all of 2012 because of Tommy John elbow surgery. The Rangers signed Soria as a free agent before last season, he appeared in 26 games as a setup reliever and he won the closer's role in Spring Training. Opponents were 0-for-16 in his last five outings going into Sunday with only one runner reaching on an error.
"It's a tough league … people think the ninth inning is overrated but it's not," Soria said. "You've got a little pressure, but you've got to face it, have fun and enjoy the moment. It's what you do. You have to love what you do to be good. It doesn't matter what inning you pitch but if I'm the closer, you just want to close it out and get the win."
Rangers send down Sardinas as they wait on Choo
SEATTLE -- The Rangers, willing to wait on outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, have optioned infielder Luis Sardinas to Double-A Frisco to make room for pitcher Matt Harrison on the active roster.
Choo was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle but is getting closer to the point where manager Ron Washington is considering using him as a pinch-hitter if needed.
"He took batting practice [Saturday] and looked pretty good," Washington said. "We're going to hang on a little longer and see where it goes. He's feeling better today. I don't know what that means. If we have to make a move when we get back to Texas, we'll make a move. Right now we'll give it a little longer. Batting is not an issue, it's going to be the running and the cutting."
Teams are allowed to put a player on the disabled list retroactively up to 10 days. Choo last played on Monday so the Rangers can wait at least through their three-game series with the Athletics before making a decision.
With Choo out, Michael Choice has been playing left field and leading off for five straight games. He went into Sunday 3-for-16 with four walks and four RBIs in the first five, including a key RBI single against Felix Hernandez on Saturday night.
"He has been holding his own and finding a way to get on base once or twice a game," manager Ron Washington said. "He might be out of his element but since he got on the field, we've only lost one game so I'm not complaining."
Cotts gets confidence boost
SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't hesitate to use left-handed setup reliever Neal Cotts with a one-run lead in the eighth inning on Saturday night. It was the same situation Cotts was called upon on Friday night when he allowed four runs without retiring a hitter.
On Saturday, Cotts struck out two hitters before Alexi Ogando finished the inning and Joakim Soria took over in the ninth.
"It was the perfect situation to get back out there with the hitters [Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley] they had coming up and he got rid of them," Washington said. "That was good. It made him feel good about himself. We feel good about him, that's why we put him back out there."
Cotts said it was about having better command and a tighter, sharper breaking ball.
"I definitely wanted to get back out there," Cotts said. "I didn't know when it would happen but I'm glad I got back out there. It was miserable the day before. It was a good bounce back."
Rangers to miss Wilson
SEATTLE -- The Rangers aren't expected to face Angels pitcher and former teammate C.J.Wilson during a three-game series that starts Friday in Anaheim. Wilson is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Indians.
The Rangers may or may not face Jered Weaver, depending if manager Mike Scioscia wants to use an off-day on Thursday to skip struggling fifth starter Hector Santiago. He is 0-4 with a 4.44 ERA.
If the Angels skip Santiago, their rotation lines up for Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Weaver to pitch in the three-game series. If the Angels stay in rotation, Weaver would get pushed back to Monday against the Yankees. Weaver is 13-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 32 career starts against the Rangers.
• Aaron Poreda's win on Saturday night was the ninth by a Rangers reliever, the most for any team in the American League.
• The Rangers scored 11 runs in the first two games of their series with the Mariners and eight came across without a hit: three bases-loaded walks, three wild pitches and two sacrifice flies.
• The Rangers went into Sunday leading the American League with 14 sacrifice bunts. Leonys Martin had five and Elvis Andrus had three, ranking them first and second among individual players.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.