Rangers' Cruz homers in first four games
Erik Bedard made his first start in 20 months and the Seattle Mariners' left-hander didn't show much rust.
Bedard got his latest comeback under way with five solid innings in a 6-4 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
Bedard (0-1) allowed five runs - three earned - and four hits. He gave up homers to Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus, but struck out three and walked two in a positive step as he tries to bounce back from a series of shoulder injuries.
''I didn't forget how it was,'' Bedard said. ''I didn't have too many butterflies. I tried to throw strikes and get people out.''
His previous start was July 25, 2009, before undergoing his third season-ending left shoulder surgery in a three-year span in August 2009. He missed all of last season.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge liked what he saw from Bedard.
''He threw the ball well and hadn't been out there in a long time,'' Wedge said. ''I thought he did a good job of controlling the ballgame, mixed his pitches well. ... I was really pleased with his performance.''
The 31-year-old Bedard went 3-1 with a 3.15 ERA in six starts during spring training, so Wedge wasn't surprised that he was able to perform as well as he did.
''He's a veteran guy with a great mindset,'' Wedge said. ''He had a great approach every time he was out there all spring. He took it into tonight and it was good to see. I was happy for him. He gave us a chance to win the ballgame and that's all you can do.''
Milton Bradley had three hits for the Mariners (2-2).
Homers have become a regular thing for Cruz, the third player in major league history to open a season by going deep in four straight games. Andrus, however, hadn't hit one in 705 at-bats.
''We've got a solid offense,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''Anybody in the lineup can get you. Tonight Elvis got us going. And Cruz came back and got another one. ... Anytime you've got that lineup, that's what it's all about.''
Cruz went to the plate in the fourth guessing he'd get a first-pitch curve from Bedard. Instead, the lefty threw a changeup and Cruz adjusted with a drive over the center-field wall to give him four of Texas' 13 homers this season.
''In that at-bat I was thinking, hit the ball through the hole (at) second base hard, because he was throwing that curveball,'' Cruz said. ''I was hoping he would throw that so I could hit it the other way, but he threw me a changeup and I turned on it.''
Cruz joined Willie Mays (1971) and Mark McGwire (1998) as the only players to go deep in each of their first four games of a season.
The Rangers (4-0) are one of four unbeaten teams in the big leagues.
Gusty 20 mph wind made fly balls and popups a challenge for fielders. With two outs in the first, Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli was in foul territory lining up Bradley's popup. But the ball sailed fair and dropped between Napoli and second baseman Ian Kinsler, with Bradley being credited with a single.
The Rangers capitalized on Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki's error to make it 3-0 in the second. After Napoli drew a two-out walk, Yorvit Torrealba's line drive to right kicked off the heel of Suzuki's glove.
Julio Borbon, the No. 9 hitter, followed with his two-run triple to right-center.
The Mariners rallied in the fourth on ex-Ranger Justin Smoak's RBI double and Miguel Olivo's run-scoring groundout, but Cruz's solo shot on a changeup in the bottom half made it 4-2.
Chone Figgins' RBI groundout in the fifth pulled Seattle within 4-3, but Josh Hamilton's two-out RBI double in the fifth restored Texas' two-run pad.
Michael Young hit a leadoff double in the sixth and scored on Torrealba's double-play grounder, making it 6-3.
Bradley doubled in the eighth against Arthur Rhodes and scored when Olivo singled with two outs.
The Mariners were able to somewhat limit a Rangers offense that scored 26 runs while sweeping a three-game weekend series from Boston.
''We're not looking for moral victories,'' Wedge said. ''They're a strong-hitting ballclub and I felt like we gave ourselves a chance. But we didn't finish innings off, a mistake or two hurt us - but we were right there in it.''
NOTES: Bradley improved his batting average to .353. ... Texas RHP Alexi Ogando is scheduled to make his major league starting debut Tuesday night against the Mariners. Ogando went 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 44 relief appearances for the Rangers last season. ... Mariners RHP Michael Pineda will start in his major league debut Tuesday night. ... Smoak extended his hitting streak to 14 games dating to last season with a second-inning single.