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May 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Rangers, May 25: Mariners lose eighth straight

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Felix Hernandez couldn’t get the Mariners back on track, as they fell 5-2 to the Rangers to lose their eighth straight. The M’s were held to just five hits as the season continues to unravel. They are now closer to Houston (6 games) than Oakland (6.5 games). Not to mention 12 behind first-place Texas.

RANGERS SIXTH: Hernandez started off with two K’s before giving up a triple to Martin and walking Andrus. That brought his pitch count to 114 and brought Wedge out of dugout to pull him. Oliver Perez gave up RBI single to Murphy, closing book on Hernandez with five runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings. It’s 5-2 Rangers

RANGERS FIFTH: Nelson Cruz extends Texas’s lead with a two-out, opposite-field homer. Over his last two starts, Hernandez has given up 18 hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in 10 innings. 4-2 Rangers

MARINERS FOURTH: Derek Holland strikes out the side, giving him seven whiffs — one more than Felix Hernandez. 3-2 Rangers

RANGERS FOURTH: Michael Saunders bailed out Hernandez with a great leaping catch at the wall to rob David Murphy with a man aboard, ending the inning. 3-2 Rangers.

MARINERS THIRD:M’s jump back in the game with a two-out, two-run double off the top of the right-field wall by Kendrys  Morales after an Elvis Andrus error extended the inning. 3-2 Rangers

MARINERS SECOND: No problem at all for Derek Holland, who struck out Saunders and Shoppach and got Triunfel on a foul pop. 3-0 Rangers

RANGERS SECOND:Bad news for the Mariners, as not even King Felix can stop the trend of starters letting the opposition jump out early. The Rangers had four hits, good for three runs, the big blow a two-out, two-run double by David Murphy after Kelly Shoppach had brilliantly blocked the plate to nail his opposite number, A.J. Pierzynski, at the plate. More bad news: Felix has already thrown 46 pitches. 3-0 Rangers

MARINERS FIRST: A promising inning went nowhere as Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak both were called out on strikes with runners on first and second (via singles by Bay and Morse). 0-0

TEXAS FIRST: Texas got a couple of two-out singles before Felix ended a 21-pitch first inning by striking out Nelson Cruz.

Wedge said his lineup changes were designed to “shake it up a little bit, give it a little different look.”

Speaking specifically about the move of struggling Michal Saunders out of the leadoff spot, he said, “He’s been pressing a little bit, expanding the zone a little bit. Ther’s a lefty on the mound tonight. Just let him watch a few ABs. I think for the most part he’s done a pretty good job up there, but he’s gotten away from a few of the things that allowed him to be successful.”

Brendan Ryan, on the other hand, has hit .406 (13-for-32) over the last nine games to raise his average to .202. And don’t think surpassing the Mendoza Line isn’t meaningful to him.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I want to look so bad because it’s been so bad and .200 feels like .550 right now, but I don’t even want to look. I almost don’t even want to know. I just want to stay hungry and get greedy. Not that I’m trying to get two hits in my first at-bat, I just want to hit the ball hard. The more I hit the ball hard, the more hits seem to be coming. Just try to keep stacking good at-bats.”

Ryan credits his surge to “definitely some good fortune. Not every ball has to be right at someone all the time. I’ve had some better at-bats. I don’t know. I don’t want to get too high on this wave. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and let it get deep.”

Asked if he was feeling cursed, he answered immediately, “Yes. I felt it.  When things are going bad, they can start to pour. I think I’ve learned a little bit through this. Last year wasn’t real fun either. Hopefully I’m on to something and I think am. A lot of it is positive thinking. Raul talked about how some of these base hits he would see Jeter get just blew him away. A second baseman and a third baseman collide and he would end up with an infield double. Now that didn’t happen, but it’s an example of positive thinking and willing things to happen. I feel that might be as big a part of it as anything. Even faking the confidence, but just knowing I’m a whole lot better than a buck twenty at this level or any level. Just saying to heck with it, I’m just going to turn it around by willing good things to happen.”

 

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