Mariners 4, Rangers 3

Already on a bit of a slide, Ron Washington was asked his

thoughts on the performance of his pitching staff entering Tuesday

night’s series opener in Seattle.

”My pitching is what it is and as long as they’re healthy,

they’re human. They’re going to have bad days, too,” the Texas

manager said.

If the Rangers’ bullpen has too many bad days, it could become

more than just a little worrisome for Washington.

Justin Smoak’s RBI single in the eighth inning off reliever

Pedro Strop pulled Seattle even, Jack Cust followed with the

go-ahead RBI single off Darren Oliver and the Mariners rallied for

a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

Texas has now dropped five of six and since sweeping Kansas City

April 22-24 to improve to 14-7, the Rangers have gone 2-7.

”We’re not crying about it. The guys we’ve got down there,

we’ve got confidence in them. We’ve just go to keep putting them

out there and hope they get the job done,” Washington said after

the loss.

”We’re not getting the job done right now,” he added.

Already without Josh Hamilton and closer Neftali Feliz, the

Rangers were given a couple of more issues on Tuesday night.

Starter Alexi Ogando pitched well through six innings, but was

forced to leave after a blister formed under his fingernail. That

meant Washington had to turn to his bullpen sooner than he wanted

and just a day after the Rangers relievers blew their fourth save

opportunity of the season.

Strop (0-1) had allowed just one earned run in his first 10

appearances this season, but gave up three against the Mariners.

Strop gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Langerhans in the seventh

and Langerhans later scored on Ichiro Suzuki’s double-play grounder

to pull Seattle even at 2-all.

Down 3-2, Seattle opened the eighth with a bloop single by Adam

Kennedy that fell in front of David Murphy in left field. Miguel

Olivo then dropped a bunt to advance pinch-runner Jack Wilson, but

Strop slipped fielding the bunt and Olivo was safe.

Smoak grounded a 1-0 pitch into the hole between first and

second. The grounder bounced off Mike Napoli as he dived and

caromed into right field, allowing Wilson to score and Olivo to

reach third.

Oliver replaced Strop and saw Cust line his first pitch back up

the middle to score Olivo with the go-ahead run.

”It’s good when you give your team the opportunity to win. I

feel like I couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Strop said. ”I’m

upset.”

Texas was held hitless for the first five innings by Seattle

starter Erik Bedard, who threw seven strong innings. Ian Kinsler

doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on Michael Young’s single

for a 2-1 lead. Texas retook the lead in the eighth when Julio

Borbon singled off Seattle reliever David Pauley (1-0) and later

scored on Elvis Andrus’ perfectly placed squeeze bunt.

”It’s hard. Bedard pitched a great game,” Kinsler said. ”We

put ourselves in position to win. If you can do that every night

with our team good things are going to happen.”

Texas now must wait to see how Nelson Cruz feels on Wednesday.

Cruz left the game in the seventh inning with tightness in his

right quad. He’s expected to be reexamined on Wednesday.

”I feel good right now,” Cruz said. ”I’ve got to wait till

tomorrow and see how my body reacts. Hopefully it should just be

one day off.”

NOTES: Hamilton is expected to begin hitting off a tee on

Wednesday. It’s his first steps in returning from a broken right

arm suffered last month against Detroit. … Seattle rookie RHP

Michael Pineda was named AL rookie of the month on Tuesday. Pineda

went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in April.