SEATTLE – Felix Hernandez has seen this game before, but never with Adrian Beltre yapping at him in his home-run trot.
“He always talks,” Hernandez said Sunday.
Beltre, his good friend and former teammate with the Seattle Mariners, delivered the big hit in the Texas Rangers’ 3-0 victory at Safeco Field.
His two-run home run in the fourth inning carried the Rangers on another day when Hernandez pitched well, but not well enough to overcome the zeroes posted by his own team’s offense.
Ranger pitcher Matt Harrison and three relievers relegated the Mariners to their 14th shutout this season, tied for most in the American League with Oakland and Tampa Bay and tied for second in the major leagues behind San Diego’s 18.
Beltre’s home run, his 27th this season, was enough to send Hernandez’s record to 14-13.
It also continued a running across-the-field commentary between the two that has existed since Beltre left the Mariners and became a free agent two years ago. He played for the Red Sox in 2010 before signing this year with the Rangers.
Until Sunday, Beltre had gone 1 for 7 against Hernandez with four strikeouts and no home runs.
“He’s always talking smack to me,” Beltre said. “He has my number. He was yapping and I told him all I wanted to do was take him deep, and I did.”
Beltre, who hit a long home run Saturday night off rookie Anthony Vasquez, grounded out in his first at-bat Sunday. With two outs and a runner on first base in the fourth, Hernandez got two quick strikes on Beltre.
“I tried to go in,” Hernandez said.
His sinker was down, but over the plate.
“He hit it,” Hernandez said, pausing for effect. “Hard. He got me. What can I say? It’s always going to be like that. He won this battle today. We’ll have another one in Texas (next week).”
The Rangers scored again in the sixth when Elvis Andrus, who finished with four hits, doubled to left field to score Ian Kinsler.
Otherwise, they didn’t hit Hernandez hard although he did give up a long ball down the left-field line to Kinsler in the third inning that was ruled a home run, then overturned. Umpires used video replay to see that Kinsler’s drive, with a runner on base, carried past the foul side of the left-field foul pole.
Hernandez allowed nine hits in seven innings before Shawn Kelley and Steve Delabar finished up, each pitching a scoreless inning.
The M’s had just six hits but added 14 strikeouts to its franchise-record total for the season. Seattle loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh against Harrison, but Koji Uehara came in and fanned Luis Rodriguez.
E—Mi.Young (8). LOB—Texas 10, Seattle 8. 2B—Andrus 2 (26), Napoli (25), L.Rodriguez (10). HR—A.Beltre (27). RBIs—Andrus (60), A.Beltre 2 (94). RLISP—Texas 5, Seattle 4. RMU—Mi.Young. GIDP—Kinsler, Ackley. DP—Texas 1, Seattle 1.
IR-S—Uehara 3-0. IBB—J.Hamilton. T—2:38. A—21,479 (47,878).