Felix Hernandez extended the Texas Rangers’ offensive woes, and Nelson Cruz returned to the Seattle lineup with a two-run homer off Derek Holland as the Mariners won 5-0 and salvaged a split of the four-game series.
The Rangers were held to three hits by Hernandez in eight innings, and they finished with four hits a day after behing one-hit by Vidal Nuno and two relievers.
The Rangers finished their 10-game road trip 5-5. Though they lost a half-game Thursday to idle Houston in the American League West, the Rangers gained a half-game during the road trip and are 2 ½ games back.
But the Rangers lost a half-game from their lead for the second wild card during the road trip, and Minnesota is just one game back.
Pitching: Holland found trouble at the beginning and the end of his outing. … Seattle score two in the first with two outs, a rally that Cruz started with a single in his first at-bat since Sept. 2. Robinson Cano followed with a double, and Mark Trumbo, who went 4 for 4 on Tuesday, doubled. … Holland dodged trouble over the many of the next five innings before yielding another run in the seventh. … Jesus Sucre opened with a double, went to third on a bunt and scored on Ketel Marte’s single. Cruz, who hadn’t played since Sept. 2, followed two batters later with his 40th homer of the season.
5 Hits for the Rangers in the final two games of the series, both shutout losses.
Hitting: The Rangers were blanked on one hit Tuesday, so technically they did better against Felix Hernandez. It still was woefully short. … Mitch Moreland was the only runner to get to second base, with a leadoff double in the second. … Bobby Wilson had a two-out single in the fifth moments after the Rangers lost a challenge. They didn’t buy that Elvis Andrus was out trying to steal second, but replay confirmed that Marte held the tag on Andrus as he lost contact with the base. … Shin-Soo Choo had a leadoff single in the sixth but was quickly erased on a Prince Fielder double play.