Seattle ace Felix Hernandez takes another crack at nailing down win No. 100 on Thursday when the Mariners open a four-game set with the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.
After a brilliant season debut that saw him throw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, Hernandez was roughed up a bit by the Chicago White Sox, who reached the former American League Cy Young Award winner for four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Hernandez also struck out three batters and walked a pair in the loss.
"The stuff was there today, but it was the command. That was the problem," said Hernandez, who is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA. "When I don't have my command, it's tough to pitch."
Texas has always given Hernandez fits, as he is just 12-16 with a 3.76 ERA in 34 starts against them.
Hernandez will try to help the Mariners bounce back from an embarrassing series loss at home to Houston that saw the Astros score 24 times in the final two games.
After surrendering 16 runs in a loss on Tuesday, Seattle found itself on the wrong end on an 8-3 decision in Wednesday's rubber match. Kelly Shoppach went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBI, while Franklin Gutierrez accounted for the other Seattle run with his third homer of the season.
Blake Beavan (0-1) allowed five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings to absorb the loss for the M's, who have lost four of their last five overall.
"You've got to execute pitches. You can't give up that many hits in two nights and expect to win ballgames," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "You've got to execute pitches, you've got to work hard to get ahead and stay ahead, and when you do, you've got to finish them off. We've just made too many mistakes from a pitching standpoint, and when you do that, it makes it a lot easier for the opposition."
Texas, meanwhile, enters this series after taking two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays. However, the Rangers were denied a sweep in that set, as they were blanked, 2-0, in Wednesday's finale.
David Murphy went 2-for-4 with a double in the loss but Texas managed just five hits, went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Derek Holland (0-1) got the start for the Rangers and despite the lack of run support, had a good performance, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks over eight innings.
"He was outstanding," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "I mean he gave up two runs, five hits, take that every day. He did his job. Tampa's team did a better job, they kept us off the board."
Texas had hoped to throw Matt Harrison in this one, but the left-hander was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a back injury. He revealed earlier in the week that he had been trying to pitch through a stiff lower back, which may explain his miserable start (0-2, 8.44 ERA).
So, instead the Rangers will rely on righty Justin Grimm, who went 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in five games (two starts) for Texas last year.
"I just expect him to come and keep us in the ballgame," Washington said. "He's a strike-thrower, and he understands how to use those strikes. It doesn't have to be a no-hitter, a perfect game, none of that. Just keep us around."
Texas was 10-9 against the Mariners last season.