Saturday, June 14, 2014
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Rangers score in the ninth to beat Hernandez, M's

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[June 14, 2014]  SEATTLE -- Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez was rolling through another dominant performance at Safeco Field on Friday night, but forgive him if the 1-0 hard-luck loss to the Texas Rangers seemed all too familiar.

Despite allowing just four hits over 8 1/3 innings, Hernandez suffered his first loss since April 21 when Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus scored from third base in the ninth inning.

It marked the 58th time that Hernandez has thrown eight or more innings while allowing one run or fewer -- and the 14th time in such games that he has failed to earn a victory.

"It's tough, real tough," said Hernandez, who now has two losses to go with his 12 no-decisions when allowing one run or fewer in eight-plus innings. "I've just got to go out and do my job. That's all I can do."

Hernandez's biggest mistake came after Andrus hit a one-out single in the ninth and moved to second on a stolen base. With Shin-Soo Choo in the batter's box, Hernandez failed to keep Andrus on second and allowed him to easily take third base on another steal -- setting up the winning run.

"I was just locked in on the hitter," Hernandez said, "and he got that base."

Hernandez (8-2) and the Mariners nearly got away with it when reliever Fernando Rodney came on with one out and runners on first and third base and got Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre to ground into a potential inning-ending double play. But the relay throw from second baseman Robinson Cano was way off target, allowing Beltre to reach on a fielder's choice as the go-ahead run scored from third.
 


Rangers closer Joakim Soria retired the side in the ninth, getting Cano to hit a dribbler back to the mound for the final out while earning his 14th save of the season.

Seattle (34-33) has now lost four games in a row.

"We're going through a little funk right now," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said after his team was held to just two hits by four Texas pitchers. "This team has got to fight and stay together, and we'll get through this."

The Rangers' Shawn Tolleson (2-1) earned the win with a scoreless eighth inning after Texas starter Nick Tepesch matched Hernandez for six innings. Tepesch gave up a pair of seventh-inning walks to end his night. He threw 6 1/3 innings of two-hit shutout ball but did not factor into the decision.

"He did a tremendous job," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He gave us a chance, and that's all we wanted."

Texas reliever Jason Frasor took over for Tepesch in the seventh and struck out two consecutive batters to get out of that jam before Tolleson took over in the eighth.

The Rangers (33-34) have allowed just one run over their past two games.

Hernandez had a shutout going into the ninth inning but was pulled after allowing a single and a walk with one out. He allowed just four hits, marking the sixth time this season that Hernandez has held a team to that number. It came against a Texas team that has generally had his number over the years.

Afterward, Hernandez acknowledged that he pitched better than usual against the Rangers, "but we still lost the game."

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Hernandez had won five decisions in a row before getting a no-decision his last time out. He now has a career record of 12-21 against the Rangers.

The Rangers' Andrus admitted that beating Hernandez was more satisfying than most wins.

"Those are the best ones," he said. "When you face the best one and you beat the best one, after the game it's a nice feeling."

Hernandez got off to a great start. Texas didn't move a baserunner past first base through the first five innings.

Tepesch was just as dominant. The only hit he allowed through five innings came on Mike Zunino's leadoff single in the third inning. Texas caught Seattle shortstop Brad Miller trying to steal two batters later, meaning Tepesch faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings.

Seattle's only real threat came in the seventh inning, when Tepesch gave up a pair of walks and a passed ball eventually put runners on second and third base. Both were stranded when Frasor struck out pinch hitter Endy Chavez and left fielder Dustin Ackley to get out of the inning.

"Tepesch was able to match (Hernandez's) zeroes until we pushed something across the board," Washington said. "That's what it takes: Matching his zeroes."

NOTES: Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland (ankle) got a second opinion from a doctor in North Carolina this week, but his timetable for returning is still up in the air. MLB.com reported that Moreland is suffering from Os Trigonum Syndrome, a condition in which a bone causes irritation in the ankle. Moreland can elect to have surgery to remove the bone, sidelining him for three to four weeks, or he could have season-ending reconstructive surgery. ... Texas RHP Yu Darvish is listed as the Rangers' probable starter for Tuesday, despite the Thursday off day. Darvish, who pitched Wednesday, will now get an extra day of rest as he maintains his usual spot in the rotation. ... Mariners DH Corey Hart (hamstring) took batting practice before Friday's game and could begin running Saturday. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Friday that Hart could be close to a rehab stint. ... Seattle 3B Kyle Seager batted in the No. 2 spot for the first time this season but went 0-for-3, including a groundout in the ninth inning of the 1-0 loss.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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