SEATTLE – The meaning of power became an in-your-face example of what the Seattle Mariners have lacked – and what the Texas Rangers have – Thursday night at Safeco Field.
The Mariners nicked Rangers starting pitcher Tommy Hunter with at least one hit in each of the first seven innings and put the leadoff man on base five times. And they didn’t score.
Meanwhile, the Rangers were Felix Hernandez’s fodder through six innings before David Murphy did what the Mariners didn’t.
His line-drive home run over the left-field fence in the seventh inning broke a scoreless tie and became the springboard to a 6-0 Rangers victory.
“We’ve got to score runs to have a ballgame,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We had plenty of opportunities early in the ballgame. The top of the order has done the job for the third straight day, but we have to be able to drive guys in.”
Until the seventh, Hernandez had shut down the Rangers.
After Nelson Cruz’s leadoff double in the second inning, Hernandez retired 14 straight Rangers and 15 of 16.
But the Mariners’ offense offered him nothing, going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and it was a key reason Hernandez, 7-9, has lost four of his past five starts and is winless since July 10,
“It’s been 18 innings since we’ve scored for Felix,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s got to wear on a young guy like him.’’
As in many of his other losses and no-decisions, Hernandez wouldn’t bury his hitters, even though they’ve scored eight runs in the nine games he has lost this season.
“It’s baseball. It happens,” he said. “What do you want me to answer? It’s just hard.”
The Mariners had seven hits off Hunter through six innings and put their leadoff man on base in the first, second, fourth and sixth, and they had a runner as far as second base with less than two outs five times.
Yet, they didn’t score. Here’s how:
• Casey Kotchman grounded out and Russell Branyan popped out with Ichiro Suzuki on third with one out in the first inning.
• Jose Lopez struck out, Adam Moore flied out and Michael Saunders struck out after Franklin Gutierrez doubled to lead off the second inning.
• Moore and Saunders struck out with runners on first and second in the fourth.
• And Lopez popped out, Moore grounded out and Saunders popped out in the sixth after Branyan and Gutierrez had led off with back-to-back singles.
Hernandez couldn’t hold off the Rangers any longer.
E—Tom.Hunter (1), Jo.Lopez (13). LOB—Texas 8, Seattle 10. 2B—N.Cruz 2 (19), I.Suzuki 2 (23). HR—Dav.Murphy (7), off F.Hernandez. RBI—Andrus (28), N.Cruz (60), Dav.Murphy 2 (34), B.Molina (9). S—Figgins. SF—B.Molina.
|Harrison H, 2||2/3||0||0||0||0||0||3.92|
IBB—Dav.Murphy. WP—J.Wright, Seddon 2. T—3:04. A—22,624 (47,878).