Rangers beat Mariners’ Hernandez

A.J. Pierzynski homered, David Murphy snapped a 2-all tie with
an RBI single in the fifth, and the Texas Rangers toppled Seattle
ace Felix Hernandez in a 4-3 win over the Mariners on Thursday
night.

Pierzynski hit his second homer of the season with one-out in
the second. The Rangers added an unearned run later in the second
and scored twice in the fifth to deny Hernandez (1-2) a shot at his
100th career victory.

Thursday night was Hernandez’s first home start since he signed
a $175 million extension in the offseason that will keep him in
Seattle through the 2019 season. The occasion was celebrated with
all 22,000-plus fans in attendance receiving giant yellow K-cards
and a yellow T-shirt with ”King Felix” printed on the front.

But there was concern later in the game for Seattle when Michael
Morse left the game in the seventh after getting hit on the right
hand with a pitch as he checked his swing.

Morse entered the night tied for the lead in home runs in the
majors with six. He initially stayed in the game and got hit in the
shoulder on the next pitch from Tanner Scheppers. After getting to
first base and taking off his batting glove, Morse called for the
trainer and left the game.

There was no immediate word about his injury.

Joe Ortiz pitched two innings in relief of Texas starter Justin
Grimm to get his first victory. Ortiz (1-0) allowed no hits and
striking out two in his fourth relief appearance of the season. Joe
Nathan pitched the ninth for his third save.

There were plenty of cheers early when Hernandez recorded a pair
of first inning strikeouts to reach the 1,500-mark in his career.
Hernandez got Murphy looking to end the first inning for No. 1,500.
He walked off the mound to be greeted by a handshake from Adrian
Beltre – one of Hernandez’s closest friends in the game – and
catcher Jesus Montero waiting with the ball to commemorate the
milestone number.

Hernandez allowed the homer to Pierzynski in the second then saw
his defense let him down. Raul Ibanez misplayed Mitch Moreland’s
line drive to left field for an error. Leonys Martin followed with
a single and with two outs, Elvis Andrus had an RBI single to score
Moreland and give the Rangers the lead.

After Seattle pulled even, the Rangers broke the deadlock in the
fifth. Ian Kinsler led off with a single and scored on Murphy’s
two-out hit. Nelson Cruz followed with a double to left-field to
score Lance Berkman for a 4-2 Texas lead.

Hernandez allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, leaving after
giving up a single to Beltre with two outs in the seventh.

Franklin Gutierrez hit his third leadoff homer of the season and
added an RBI groundout for Seattle. But Seattle couldn’t complete
rallies in the seventh or eighth innings.

Kyle Seager snapped a 0-for-18 skid with a two-out single in the
seventh off Scheppers. Kendrys Morales walked and Morse was hit by
a pitch to load the bases. Lefty Robbie Ross took over for
Scheppers and struck out Raul Ibanez to end the threat.

Seattle had one more rally as Justin Smoak singled and Jesus
Montero doubled to open the eighth. Robert Andino followed with a
slow chopper to score Smoak and cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-3 with
pinch-runner Endy Chavez advancing to third.

Seattle then tried to squeeze across the tying run, but Brendan
Ryan’s bunt went directly back at Ross, who moved quickly off the
mound and flipped the ball Pierzynski in time to get Chavez
breaking from third.

Notes: Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman threw out the first
pitch. He was joined by teammates Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor
with seats in the first row near the Rangers dugout. … Seattle
gave 2B Dustin Ackley the night off. Ackley is hitting just .100.
… Japanese pitchers Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma will meet for
the third time in their major league careers on Friday night. The
pitchers faced off six times while playing in Nippon Professional
Baseball.

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