Published May 05, 2011
SEATTLE – After five brilliant starts to begin his major league career, Seattle rookie Michael Pineda found out what happens when he makes mistakes: home runs.
And when the mistakes are against Texas, they're usually hit pretty far.
Pineda saw his four-game winning streak come to an end Wednesday night thanks to solo homers by Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis, and the Rangers beat the Mariners 5-2.
It didn't help Pineda that his counterpart, Texas' C.J. Wilson, was throwing a gem of his own. Wilson tossed a complete-game six-hitter, matching his career high with 12 strikeouts.
"A couple of fastballs they got to and turned around," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "But he still pitched well and gave us a chance to win the game."
Pineda, the AL rookie of the month for April, hadn't experienced much adversity in his first month in the majors. Each of his first five appearances was a quality start and his only loss entering Wednesday came in his debut at Texas. And even then, he limited the Rangers to just three runs in six innings.
Pineda (4-2) went seven innings this time against Texas and matched his high with nine strikeouts. But he gave up three RBI hits with two outs that proved to be the difference.
"I'm working hard today but two homers," Pineda said trailing off. "... I wanted to win tonight."
Moreland hit Pineda's first pitch of the fifth inning 410-feet out to deep right-center field. Two innings later, Davis' homer landed in nearly the same spot, coming on an 0-2 pitch with two outs where Pineda missed his spot while trying to throw a fastball away.
But the biggest damage came in the first inning when the Rangers got a pair of runs with two outs. Adrian Beltre's drive into the right-field corner eluded Ichiro Suzuki, and it went for an RBI double when Elvis Andrus ran through a stop sign at third. David Murphy followed with a single to score Beltre.
"The first inning was a little trouble, but I'm thinking 'Wow, it's OK, it's only the first inning,'" Pineda said. "... I threw hard in the second inning."
The Rangers added to their lead in the eighth when reliever Chris Ray continued his season of inconsistency. Having not pitched since April 23, Ray walked Ian Kinsler to start the inning. Kinsler later scored when Ray's wild pitch skipped off Miguel Olivo's glove.
Ray has allowed 11 earned runs in 7 1-3 innings of relief.
Wilson (4-1) didn't need that much offensive support. The lefty retired the final 14 batters he faced and 18 of the last 19. Chone Figgins was the final batter to reach base with a one-out single in the fifth, but he was eventually stranded at third.
Seattle manufactured runs in the first and third innings, both times getting sacrifice flies from Olivo to score Figgins. But in both innings, Bradley was left standing at second as the Mariners failed to come up with a clutch hit. Figgins was also left at third in the fifth after Bradley and Olivo each struck out.
"He was down in the zone all day long," Wedge said of Wilson. "He has developed from a bullpen guy when he first came up to a starter and really made the transition well."
NOTES: Texas optioned RHP Pedro Strop to Triple-A Round Rock and recalled RHP Mark Lowe before Wednesday's game. Strop gave up three runs in one inning of relief in Tuesday night's loss. ... Andrus extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the first inning. His squeeze bunt single on Tuesday night kept the streak intact. ... Pineda entered Wednesday as one of only two pitchers in the majors with at least 20 innings that hadn't allowed a homer. Matt Garza was the other.