SEATTLE -- The next time the Texas Rangers decide to skip Yu Darvish's turn in the rotation, they should select a start against Seattle for him to miss.
It doesn't matter whether he would be pitching in his hitter-friendly home ballpark or at the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Just skip him.
These offensively challenged Mariners have had no problem this season with Darvish, and his third career start against the worst team in the American League West was no different.
Darvish surrendered four runs in a messy first inning and a career-high seven over 61/3 in a 7-0 loss that snapped the Rangers' three-game winning streak.
Felix Hernandez overwhelmed the Rangers for a second time this season, both times outpitching Darvish, and kept them from gaining a game on the Los Angeles Angels in the West standings.
"One thing I've noticed is their approach toward me has been very good," said Darvish, who threw 106 pitches. "It was different from the other outings. Giving up a four-spot against a very good pitcher, all of a sudden it's a tough situation for our offense."
Seattle took advantage of first-inning control issues by Darvish to stake Hernandez to a 4-0 lead. The first three Mariners reached on a walk, a single and a hit by pitch, and cleanup hitter John Jaso took a four-pitch walk to bring in the game's first run.
The next hitter, Michael Saunders, reached on a Michael Young error as another run scored, and Kyle Seager delivered a two-run single two batters later.
"In that first inning, it was control," manager Ron Washington said. "If you put those guys on the bag, someone will find a way to get a hit."
Said Darvish: "Early on I really struggled to throw strikes. I wasn't able to make adjustments as fast as I'd hoped."
Darvish (10-6) needed 32 pitches to escape the inning, which is 12 fewer than the first inning of his big-league debut in April against Seattle.
The Mariners have scored nine runs in the first inning this season against Darvish, who allowed single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh to add to his dismal night.
The right-hander fell to 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA and 14 walks in his career against Seattle. After pitching for the first time since July 1, Darvish said that 12 days of rest had no negative impact on his performance.
"The answer is no," said Darvish, who allowed eight hits and walked four and struck out four. "I still felt game-ready, and the 12 days I feel didn't have any effect on this outing."
Said Washington: "That's an excuse. We don't play excuses in Texas."
The Rangers' offense wasn't much better against Hernandez, who used a sharp slider, a 90-mph changeup and a cut fastball to collect 12 strikeouts. Hernandez (7-5) got Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz three times apiece and at one point fanned four straight.
"He was pretty good," Hamilton said.
The only hits Hernandez allowed were singles by Yorvit Torrealba, Young and Elvis Andrus. The 2010 AL Cy Young winner is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his past six starts, and he beat the Rangers for the second time this season after losing all four of his starts against them in 2011.
"He always has quality stuff, but I think his stuff tonight was a little better quality," said outfielder David Murphy, who struck out twice. "He got a four-run lead and just pounded the strike zone."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760