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When asked what most satisfied him about the way he is pitching now, Dempster talked about making adjustments and doing a better job of executing pitches. Then came the follow-up question about his most significant adjustment, and his answer that showed just how well he fits in with this team.

“Probably changing my underwear,” he said. “They were definitely really unlucky.”

Derek Holland (10-6) is scheduled to face Wilson on Wednesday and Yu Darvish (15-9), the Japanese rookie who surpassed 200 strikeouts during his last start, goes against Zack Greinke on Thursday.

The Rangers have made one change in the rotation, replacing struggling Scott Feldman (0-5, 6.99 ERA his last seven starts) with rookie Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38) for the opener Friday night in Seattle. All-Star lefty Matt Harrison (17-9) pitches again Saturday.

Texas had only 1 1/2-game division lead at the same point last season, then won 14 of its last 16 games to finish 10 games ahead of the Angels. The Rangers were 40-17 against division opponents last season; they’re 21-20 this year.

“That’s where you win, when you can run away in your division, or do well in your division,” Washington said. “I’ll take our best game against any one of those teams’ best game.”