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Rangers slowly building up quality starts

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SEATTLE -- Joe Saunders turned in an official quality start by holding the Mariners to two runs in six innings on Saturday night. It was the third straight quality start, following Yu Darvish's shutout on Wednesday and Nick Tepesch's 6 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday.

It's the first time this season that the Rangers have received three quality starts in a row. Quality starts are defined as the starter going at least six innings and allowing three or fewer earned runs. It's only the third time this season that Rangers starters have pitched at least six innings in at least three straight games no matter how many runs given up.

The Rangers have 24 quality starts on the season. Despite leading the league in shutouts, the Rangers are last in the league in quality starts. Darvish has 10 of the 24 quality starts. Martin Perez, who had Tommy John surgery and is out for the season, and Tepesch each have three. Nick Martinez, Saunders and Robbie Ross Jr. each have two while Scott Baker and Matt Harrison each have one.

A shutout does not necessarily mean a quality start. Three of the Rangers' 13 shutouts have been accomplished without the starter going six innings.

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.

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