ARLINGTON, Texas – Maybe if David Murphy or Elvis Andrus or Adrian Beltre is able to get to a foul ball in the eighth inning Friday night the Texas Rangers win.
Maybe if home-plate umpire Doug Eddings saw Andrus’ first-inning slide at home differently the Rangers win.
Maybe if Ian Kinsler is able to put the ball in play in the bottom of the eighth the Rangers win.
But no maybes went the Rangers’ way and instead the Seattle Mariners opened the three-game series with a 3-1 victory over Texas.
“It was a game we just lost,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “We just didn’t win. There are no excuses. There’s no reasons. There’s no nothing. It just didn’t happen. We had a couple of opportunities later in the game and it didn’t work out. Those days happen.”
Texas led 1-0 after seven thanks to two-hit pitching from Derek Holland and an RBI single from Pierzynski.
But Neal Cotts couldn’t make the lead hold up in the top of the eighth. After getting ahead of Nick Franklin 0-2, he walked Franklin with one out. Kyle Seager followed Franklin and hit a ball that went into foul territory in left that a sliding Murphy couldn’t get to.
Seager made the most of the near out by lining a 0-2 offering from Cotts over the wall in right. That proved to be the difference as the Rangers dropped just their third game in 61 opportunities when they led after seven innings.
“We just couldn’t seem to get in sync like we wanted to, but you know, we had opportunities,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “We just didn’t cash them in all the way.”
The Rangers had just four hits, but certainly had their chances but went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and lost two more runners on the basepaths.
Andrus was thrown out at the plate in the first inning on a play in which Eddings thought Humberto Quintero tagged Andrus on the shoulder but Andrus didn’t see it that way.
Texas finally got on the board in the fourth inning when Pierzynski singled to left center to score Ian Kinsler. But Pierzynski was thrown out trying to go to second when second-place umpire Angel Hernandez thought Franklin tagged Pierzynski after he slid past the bag.
Even with that missed chance, the Rangers still had a runner on third with one out but failed to score him. Texas had a chance in the bottom of the eighth too with runners on second and third with one out. But Kinsler struck out and Pierzynski hit a soft pop up to third after Beltre was intentionally walked.
The loss squandered another solid start by Holland, who lowered his ERA to 2.95 but didn’t factor in the decision. He’s the first Texas starter to have at least three starts of at least seven innings while allowing two or less runs since Nolan Ryan had four in 1991.
Despite the stellar outing, Holland said he hurt himself by falling behind hitters and needed 105 pitches to get through seven innings. He said he felt fresh enough to go out for the eighth, but understood Washington going to the bullpen.
Cotts couldn’t help out the starter out.
“It’s real frustrating,” said Cotts, who has allowed two homers to left-handed hitters and both have been against Seattle. “I need to concentrate a little bit more and make a better 0-2 pitch. It’s frustrating and it’s part of the job so I need to completely finish it. We were trying to get him (Seager), if he was going to beat us, beat us the other way, and I left a pitch over the middle of the plate.”