ARLINGTON -- The only good thing about Scott Feldman's performance Saturday night is that the Texas Rangers' offense still had seven opportunities to chip away at the giant deficit he had put them in.
And, sure enough, the bats did their part to give the Rangers a chance in a game in which Feldman gave them none.
But it wasn't enough.
Feldman wasn't the losing pitcher after an 8-6 defeat to Seattle. Tanner Scheppers was after Justin Smoak took the steam out of the Rangers' comeback with a homer to start the eighth and with another RBI in the ninth.
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But the Rangers found themselves in a 6-0 hole in the third inning after Feldman proved wildly ineffective against the worst-hitting team in the American League.
Feldman hasn't won a game since Aug. 4. He is 0-5 with a 6.92 ERA in the seven starts since he beat Kansas City, and the Rangers are 1-6 in those games.
With 17 games remaining and their lead over Oakland in the AL West down to two games, the Rangers face a decision on whether Feldman should start again the rest of the season.
"The game just ended," manager Ron Washington said. "We haven't had a chance to evaluate that yet."
The topic is sure to be broached before Feldman's next scheduled start, Friday at Seattle. Left-hander Martin Perez would seem to be a logical candidate after he worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.
Seattle scored once in the first inning against Feldman, who allowed three batters to reach despite being ahead of them in the count.
After a perfect second, Feldman was tagged by Dustin Ackley for a homer to start the third. Seattle would score four more times, with two coming on a triple by Michael Saunders, before Feldman was lifted after 2 2/3 innings.
"There were pitches where I was ahead in the count and just got a little too much of the plate," said Feldman, who has had six- and five-game losing streaks this season as well as a six-game winning stretch.
Perez entered and flourished, allowing only a two-out walk in the fifth and a two-out hit batsman in the seventh. He struck out five and needed only 56 pitches to record 13 outs.
"Martin did a great job," Feldman said.
His effort gave the Rangers' offense a chance against Justin Vargas, who allowed a run in the third on a Nelson Cruz sacrifice fly but otherwise pitched well until the sixth.
Cruz started that inning with a single and went to third on a double by Michael Young. After David Murphy popped out, Mike Napoli launched a three-run shot off the lower-level suites in left field to cut the Rangers' deficit to 6-4.
They pulled even an inning later with a two-run rally that started with a one-out walk to Josh Hamilton. Adrian Beltre's single pushed Hamilton to second, and Cruz drove Hamilton home with a single that sneaked into left field.
Murphy grounded out two batters later as Beltre came across to tie it.
But Smoak broke the tie only two pitches into the eighth with a deep drive to center off Scheppers, who entered because Washington thought Perez had tired.
The Rangers were without Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Joe Nathan.
"You don't know if they're going to come in and get it done either," Washington said. "The other guys have to come in and get us outs, too."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760