Mariners 3, Rangers 1
A Texas Rangers lineup without many of the regulars was no match
for Felix Hernandez.
King Felix allowed one run over eight innings in another
dominating start, maybe his last of the season, and Justin Smoak
hit the tiebreaking homer as the last-place Mariners beat the AL
West champion Rangers 3-1 on Tuesday night.
”I never see the lineup,” Hernandez said. ”I just made good
pitches. I’m just trying to get out of the innings quick.”
Hernandez (13-12) became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson
in 2002 and only the seventh since 1980 to have a season with 30
quality starts (three earned runs or fewer while pitching at least
six innings). The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.27, best in the
”He has electric stuff. He can sink it, he can run it, he can
spin it, he can change it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
”And if he smells the finish line, he can get there. ”
Washington opted to rest some of his regulars, giving third
baseman Michael Young, shortstop Elvis Andrus, second baseman Ian
Kinsler and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero the night off.
Texas slugger Josh Hamilton, the majors’ leading hitter (.361),
has been out since Sept. 4 with two broken ribs. The outfielder
took some swings in the batting cage and shagged some balls during
batting practice before the game and hopes to play this
”It doesn’t matter who he’s facing. He wants to compete,”
Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said.
Hernandez struck out five and walked two while pitching into at
least the seventh inning for the 25th consecutive start, extending
his club record. He is 6-3 with an 0.96 ERA (eight earned runs over
75 1-3 innings) his past 10 starts. While Hernandez wants to start
their season finale Sunday, the Mariners still list the starter for
that game as undecided.
”It’s five days on Sunday, I’ve got to pitch,” said Hernandez,
whose 249 2-3 innings are most in the AL, 12 more than CC Sabathia
of the New York Yankees.
Asked if Hernandez has thrown enough innings already, Brown
responded, ”It’s something we’ll look at.”
David Murphy and Bengie Molina both had two hits for Texas. The
rest of the lineup combined for one.
”Nasty old Felix,” Molina said. ” Nasty, very nasty stuff.
… He can control the game whenever he wants to.”
Smoak, part of the July 9 trade that sent left-hander Cliff Lee
to the Rangers, hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Scott Feldman
(7-11) to snap a 1-1 tie. The rookie first baseman’s 12th homer of
the season was his second in as many nights against his former
Brandon League worked the ninth for his sixth save in 12
chances, and his second in a row against Texas.
Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a single, moved to second on
a sacrifice bunt and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by
Smoak’s 413-foot homer onto the hill in straightaway center
field came after Jose Lopez drew a walk to lead off the fourth.
”I wish I would have hit like this when I was here. It was a
changeup out over the plate,” Smoak said. ”Getting one against a
team that traded you is more special. It’s a great win.”
Lopez left the game in the sixth after a hard-hit grounder to
third base ricocheted off his throwing hand. Lopez immediately
started shaking his right hand and even looked down at his fingers
while retrieving the ball without throwing it. Nelson Cruz was
credited with an infield single.
Lopez was grimacing in pain when he walked to the dugout after
dislocating the tip of his middle finger.
The Rangers got their only run in the third on an RBI single by
Feldman, the opening day starter who was later moved to the
bullpen, allowed three runs and five hits over 4 1-3 innings.
With the Rangers planning to go with a three-man starting
rotation of Lee, left-hander C.J. Wilson and right-hander Colby
Lewis in the playoffs, Tommy Hunter will likely work out of the
bullpen. In preparation for that, Hunter made his first relief
appearance in the majors, striking out one of the two batters he
faced after relieving Feldman with a runner at first.
”It was different, I will tell you that,” Hunter said. ”I had
some adrenaline going. I was ready to go after a couple of warmup
pitches. … I’m usually not very worried about a runner at first.
I really did not want him to score.”
Notes: Andres Blanco, who played shortstop for Texas, dislocated
a finger on his glove hand when making a diving stop. He said he is
fine. … The Rangers will have to win their final five games to
reach 92 wins – the mark that team president and co-owner Nolan
Ryan had set as a goal before the season. But they already have
their first division title since 1999. … Mariners INF Mike Carp
has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a partially
torn plantar fascia in his right foot. He sustained the injury
running out a double Saturday at Tampa Bay.