The Mariners were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the 8th on a suicide squeeze. Felix Hernandez gets his second loss in a row. Tough night.
MARINERS SEVENTH: M’s loaded the bases with two outs but Raul Ibanez struck out against lefty Robbie Ross. That was right after Michael Morse got hit in his hand on a foul ball, and then hit in his shoulder on the next pitch by Scheppers. The former appeared painful and Morse was removed for a pinch-runner.
RANGERS FIFTH: Texas gets what the Mariners haven’t: A clutch hit with runners in scoring position. Two of them, actually, both with two out after Hernandez had struck out Adrian Beltre with runners on first and third. David Murphy singled in the go-ahead run, and Nelson Cruz doubled home another run, before Felix struck out Pierzynski with runners on second and third. 4-2 Rangers.
MARINERS FOURTH: Ryan drew his second walk of the game, but that was it. It’s still a 2-2 tie.
MARINERS SECOND: The M’s tied it up on Franklin Gutierrez’s second RBI of the night — giving him 10 for the season — when he grounded into a force out with the bases loaded (singles by Smoak and Montero, walk by Ryan). 2-2
RANGERS SECOND: Texas takes the lead with two runs, one on a homer by A.J. Pierzynski (who had a .188 career average and no homers against Felix) and the other unearned after left fielder Raul Ibanez clanked a line drive by Mitch Moreland. Two singles brought Moreland around for the first unearned run the Mariners have allowed this year — for the second day in a row. But yesterday’s unearned run is now earned after a scoring change (rightfully) took away Gutierrez’s error and made it a base hit. 2-1 Rangers.
MARINERS FIRST: Franklin Gutierrez continues to show why it’s so important to the Mariners for him to stay healthy, launching his fourth homer of the season — and his third leading off. 1-0 Mariners
RANGERS FIRST: They got two singles off Hernandez, but he also racked up the two strikeouts he needed to reach 1,500 for his career. After getting David Murphy looking to end the inning Felix stopped to receive a congratulatory handshake from Adrian Beltre, running at first. If Hernandez wins, he will be the first pitcher in history to record his 100th win and 1,500th strikeout in the same game.
There are no “must-win” games in April, but with Felix Hernandez on the mound, this is an important game for the Mariners to turn around the mood after two dismal losses to the Astros.
“We had a couple tough days, no doubt about it,” manager Eric Wedge said before the game. “It wasn’t that we particularly played bad baseball. We just didn’t execute some pitches and we just didn’t throw a lot together offensively. That’s somewhat skewed because we did score nine runs the day before last. We just need to get back on track.”
Dustin Ackley, slumping with a .100 average (3-for-30), is out of the lineup despite the fact the Rangers are starting a right-hander.
“Obviously he’s one of the guys we have to get going,” Wedge said. “We are giving him a day, giving him a chance for a good work day. And go from there. I feel it’s what he needs, quite frankly. And I want to continue to get Robert (Andino) in there. He’s worked so hard this spring to be a more consistent player with his approach in BP and how he’s brought that in that games, how hard he’s worked to be more consistent defensively. I think he deserves to play.”
Wedge is hoping that Franklin Gutierrez, starting his fifth consecutive game, will be able to play more frequently now that Michael Saunders has landed on the DL.
“You talk about Gut right now – he’s up to four or five days in a row right now and he feels good, which I think is a good sign. We’ll have to give him a day in the next couple days and go from there. You just continue to pick and choose and communicate and pay attention to what you are seeing out there. He’s been productive for a while when he’s been healthy. But he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy. The good part is that we know he’s a heck of ball player and an all around ball player when he’s healthy. It’s such a big boost for us.”