Colby Lewis, Texas Rangers blank Seattle Mariners again

SEATTLE – In their search for offensive consistency, the conundrum for the Seattle Mariners is that they continue to play the same game.

The Mariners remained scoreless since the All-Star break Friday, shut out for a second straight game in a 4-0 loss to the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.

The Mariners haven’t scored in 26 innings, going back to the first inning Sunday against the Angels.

“It’s not like we’re going out there playing bad baseball,” said manager Eric Wedge, whose patience seems to be getting shorter with each pratfall by his hitters. “We’re just not doing anything offensively.  It’s time and time again. It’s frustrating and it’s upsetting.”

Rangers starter Colby Lewis, who entered the game with an 8-7 record and 4.38 earned-run average, padded those numbers nicely by allowing four hits through 8 2/3 innings, holding the Mariners to two hits until the ninth. Neftali Feliz recorded the final out of the game, getting Jack Cust to ground out weakly to first with two runners on base.

Wedge has tried all season to be patient and show confidence that the hitting will improve, but Friday’s loss was the team’s seventh straight – matching a season high – and they fell 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Rangers in the American League West. On July 5, after a victory at Oakland, the Mariners were 2 1/2 out.

Wedge hasn’t hidden his disgust that the Mariners aren’t making contact with hittable pitches. And he’s reaching the point where change may happen with personnel if it’s not made by their hitting approach.

“The guys with the bats in their hands, they’re the ones who have to control it,” Wedge said.

The victim, as he’s been throughout the season, was pitcher Doug Fister.

He held the Rangers to six hits and four runs in 7 2/3 innings – three of the runs on sacrifice flies – but had no chance because of the offense behind him. Fister’s 2.15 runs-per-game of support is not only the lowest for any pitcher in the league, it’s the sixth lowest for an American League pitcher all time.

Despite a 3.18 ERA, Fister is 3-11 and hasn’t won since May 30.

Aardsma done for year

Mariners reliever David Aardsma is done for the 2011 season and likely longer after an MRI determined the closer needs Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the Associated Press reports.

The Mariners announced Aardsma’s diagnosis on Friday night. He is scheduled for surgery late next week to be performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Aardsma had spent the past two months trying to rehab the injury without surgery.

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