Rangers beat Mariners, stay unbeaten

BY foxsports • April 6, 2011

Felix Hernandez already has another tough-luck loss for the Seattle Mariners, even before getting his AL Cy Young Award from last season.

Hernandez and the Mariners were hurt when newly converted second baseman Jack Wilson made consecutive errors on potential inning-ending double plays that led to three runs and went on to a 7-3 loss to the still undefeated Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

''I thought (Hernandez) was good. We made it difficult for him that one inning. They grinded out some at bats,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ''He did everything to give us a chance to win the ball game, but ultimately we didn't play very well.''

And Hernandez (1-1) was far from perfect himself, though he felt OK about his outing.

''It was the wind first. I couldn't get my balance. But after that I felt good. All the pitches were working,'' he said. ''I know they're going to swing anyway, so I just have to make good pitches. It was pretty good today; I got seven innings. ... The sinker was good, which was why I got ground balls.''

Hernandez allowed four runs, two of them unearned, in seven innings. He struck out six and walked three.

After playing their first six games on the road, the Mariners (2-4) have a day off Thursday before their home opener against Cleveland, Wedge's old team. That will start a stretch of playing games on 17 consecutive days.

During pregame festivities Friday in Seattle, Hernandez will be presented the Cy Young Award he won last season despite only a 13-12 record. He got little run support in 2010, but led the league with a 2.27 ERA.

The Mariners have lost four straight games since opening the season with two consecutive wins in Oakland.

''It's early, not even through the first week. ... We have to recognize what we're doing right and what we have to get better with,'' Wedge said. ''There are ups and downs throughout the year and you've got to be able to handle the tough days. The good news is we're creating opportunities, but we have to finish off games.''

After pitching a complete game on opening day, Hernandez started against Texas with a 10-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler. The right-hander also walked AL MVP Josh Hamilton in the first without giving up a run.

Before the back-to-back errors by Wilson in the second, the Rangers loaded the bases on consecutive one-out singles and a walk from the bottom three hitters in their lineup.

Ian Kinsler then hit a grounder to third baseman Chone Figgins, whose throw to second was bobbled by Wilson without getting an out when a run scored. The next play was a grounder to shortstop Brendan Ryan, and Wilson got the forceout but threw wide of first after Kinsler slid in hard. Wilson was knocked to the ground and two runs scored on the errant throw for a 3-1 Rangers lead.

Luis Rodriguez replaced Wilson at second base to start the bottom of the third.

''(Wilson) was a little hazy after that play at second base,'' Wedge said. ''He was having trouble getting it back so we had to take him out.''

Known for making stellar plays at shortstop, Wilson had only played that position during 10 years in the majors until being shifted to second base this season. Ryan took over as the starting shortstop.

Rangers starter C.J. Wilson (1-0) gave up two earned runs and six hits over seven innings. The crafty left-hander was a 15-game winner last season when he made the transition from reliever to starter.

''I thought he matched (Hernandez) pitch for pitch,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''He held his composure and got us through seven innings. ... Fortunately we were able to come back and get some runs, and get the win. He deserved it.''

Rodriguez had a leadoff double in the fifth and scored on a grounder. Milton Bradley led off the sixth with a double and scored on a single by Jack Cust.

Mitch Moreland broke the 3-all tie in the seventh with an RBI double off Hernandez. Texas added three runs in the eighth off two relievers.

Arthur Rhodes, the 41-year-old lefty, needed only four pitches to get through the 3-4-5 batters in the Seattle lineup in the eighth. That inning started with Adrian Beltre making a nifty backhanded stab near the line of Bradley's high hard chopper and having Moreland make a nice scoop of his throw at first.

NOTES: Mariners C Adam Moore left the game in the eighth after his right knee locked up on him. He got hurt retrieving a bounced pitch that he blocked. Wedge said he would have an MRI on Thursday. ... Beltre, who is hitting only .125 (3 for 24), snapped an 0-for-14 slump since his grand slam Saturday with a bad-hop single in the third. ... The Mariners have lost 18 of their last 25 games at Rangers Ballpark.

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