SEATTLE — The scoreless-innings streak by the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff has come to an end, but the most important streak is alive and well.
The Rangers beat the American League’s reigning Cy Young winner to extend their hottest stretch of the season, and they had a good time in the process.
Ian Kinsler hit two solo homers off Felix Hernandez, and C.J. Wilson allowed only one run in seven innings as the Rangers topped Seattle 5-1 on Saturday for their 10th consecutive victory.
Afterward, the clubhouse seemed to have a little more pep than normal after beating a pitcher many Rangers consider to be the best in the game.
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“Anytime you’re going up against Felix and you beat him, you’re going to have a reaction like that,” Kinsler said. “He’s a guy you’ve got to consistently battle. You know that at the start of the game, he knows that at the start of the game, and tonight we were able to push a couple runs across.”
The winning streak is the third-longest in club history and pushed the Rangers’ advantage in the AL West to three games over the LA Angels.
The Rangers saw their streak of shutout innings reach 33, tied for the second-most in club history, before the Mariners finally broke through on a two-out RBI single by Ichiro Suzuki in the fifth.
It was the lone tally against Wilson, who became the Rangers’ first 10-game winner. He allowed five hits and struck out seven while throwing 109 pitches.
“I was really upset that I gave up a run there because I shouldn’t have,” Wilson said. “I was trying to throw that pitch away, it caught plate, and he hit it.”
Kinsler homered to start the game, and jump-started a three-run eighth inning with another drive to left field. He became only the third player to hit two homers in the same game against Hernandez in 193 career starts.
Elvis Andrus, who had broken the 1-1 tie with a single, followed Kinsler and stole the Rangers’ fourth run. He reached third after a single, a balk and a wild pitch, and he took off for home on a Josh Hamilton grounder back to Hernandez as soon as the right-hander lobbed a throw to first base.
“One of the most exciting plays I’ve ever seen was Elvis scoring right there,” Wilson said. “It looked like Felix checked out for a tenth of a second, and that’s all it took for Elvis to make that good decision to go home.”
Said Andrus, who went 3 for 4 and stole a base: “He checked me out, and as soon as he turned he thought I was coming back [to third]. Sometimes it’s a smart play. I take my chances. I’m really aggressive. When you have chances like that, I’m going to take it.”
Adrian Beltre followed with a single off Jamey Wright and scored on Michael Young’s double. Beltre popped up quickly after a long tour around the bases, and had a smile on his face.
That can happen when a team beats Hernandez for their 10th consecutive win.
“They should be proud of it,” manager Ron Washington said. “We played good baseball tonight, so when you do good things on the baseball field, you should show that emotion. That’s what they’re doing.”
How Rangers pitchers fared: C.J. Wilson had a few long innings but managed to go seven, allowing a run on five hits. After issuing a two-out run in the fifth, he wiggled out of trouble in the sixth by inducing a double-play grounder with runners at first and second in a one-run game.
How Rangers hitters fared: Nine of their 11 hits and four of their five runs came against Felix Hernandez in 7 2/3 innings. Ian Kinsler had his fifth leadoff homer of the year and pushed his hitting streak to 12 games. Endy Chavez and Elvis Andrus each had three hits, five of which came against their Venezuelan countryman Hernandez.