Rangers' offense goes silent in 1-0 loss to Mariners

Posted Sunday, Sep. 23, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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SEATTLE -- The pitch that cost Matt Harrison on Saturday night wasn't all that bad, he said, but Michael Saunders extended his arms and hit it over the right-field wall.

That second-inning solo homer was all Harrison would yield over eight innings, a performance that the Texas Rangers and their All-Star-heavy lineup would take 162 times a year.

Even without Josh Hamilton.

But Harrison, it turns out, wasn't good enough.

Blake Beavan took a shutout into the eighth inning, and the Rangers missed out on three scoring opportunities in a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

"The game came down to us being able to execute," manager Ron Washington said. "And we couldn't execute."

The Rangers lost consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 13-15, when they dropped three straight at New York, to snap a club-record 34 games without back-to-back defeats.

The loss also cost the Rangers another chance to pad their lead in the American League West after Oakland dropped a second straight game at Yankee Stadium.

The lead held at four games with 11 to go, but the Rangers' lead over the Yankees for the best record in the AL and the No. 1 playoff seed fell to one game.

The Rangers' magic number to clinch the division, though, dropped by one to eight.

"If we're going to lose a game, I guess it's good that the A's lose, too," Harrison said.

The left-hander was bidding for an 11th straight victory against the Mariners and also was trying to become the first pitcher ever to beat a Seattle team five times in one season.

Harrison (17-10) did more than enough to win, including escaping a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth inning. He also talked Washington into letting him finish out his fourth complete game by getting the final out of the eighth inning.

In the process, he finished with 201 1/3 innings on the season, the first time in his career that he has gone past the 200-inning plateau. But that was irrelevant after his first career loss at Safeco Field.

"It was a personal goal, but tonight was about winning," Harrison said. "I've felt good since I got a couple extra days' rest, and I hope to continue that."

The offense, though, has once again slid into a West Coast funk. They've scored only 15 runs in five games on the road trip, four of which have been played without Hamilton.

But they didn't need a homer or an extra-base hit Saturday. Washington lamented the Rangers failing to deliver after Nelson Cruz started the second with a double off Beavan, the Rangers' first overall pick in 2007 and a Tarrant County resident, and after the first two batters reached against him in the eighth.

Ian Kinsler failed to drop a bunt in that situation. Elvis Andrus followed with a fly ball that would have scored the tying run. The Rangers went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

They also had a chance in the fourth after a two-out double by David Murphy with Cruz at first base. He appeared to slow while rounding second and was easily thrown out at home to end the inning.

"We're usually pretty good at getting two-out hits," veteran Michael Young said. "Something we feel is a big strength of our offensive game is being versatile enough to do little things when called upon to do it, and we didn't do it."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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