SEATTLE -- Even with the return of Adrian Beltre, the Texas Rangers struggled to find much offense and fell 1-0 to the Seattle Mariners for their second consecutive loss. Texas lefty Matt Harrison pitched well again, giving up just one run on seven hits through eight innings, but still fell to 17-10 on the season.
Some quick thoughts:
What it means: Oakland lost its second straight earlier Saturday, this time in 14 innings in the Bronx. The Rangers’ AL West lead remains at four games, but they missed another opportunity to separate themselves from the A’s.
Squandered opportunity: With two on and nobody out in the eighth, Texas had a great chance to tie it up or even take the lead. But Seattle reliever Josh Kinney struck out Ian Kinsler, got Elvis Andrus to fly out and finished off Michael Young with another strikeout.
Beltre’s back: After missing two games this week with intestinal problems, Beltre went 1-for-4 in his return to the lineup. Doctors are 90 percent sure that scar tissue from his appendix surgery 11 years ago is pressing on his intestines and causing the pain. The All-Star was optimistic that he can finish the season and then have a simple surgery in the offseason if the he continues to feel pain.
Wild about Harry: Harrison did all he could to keep his team in the game. The lefty scattered seven hits, and his only blip was a solo home run to Michael Saunders in the second inning. Harrison surpassed the 200-inning mark on the season for the first time in his career.
Rare skid: The Rangers hadn’t lost two in a row since dropping a three-game set to the Yankees last month. Their 34-game streak without back-to-back losses was the longest in club history.
Shouldn’t have traded me: Seattle starter Blake Beavan was fantastic against the team that picked him in the first round of the 2007 draft. The Irving, Texas, native enjoyed one of his best starts of the season against a potent Rangers lineup, throwing seven shutout innings. He gave up eight hits and walked one. Beavan was part of the trade with Seattle that brought Cliff Lee to Texas.
Craig’s cannon: Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak ripped a Harrison offering into the gap to lead off the second inning and tried to stretch his hit into a double. But Craig Gentry fired a dart to Kinsler at least two seconds before Smoak even arrived at the bag. That saved a run, as Saunders launched his solo home run in the next at-bat. This came three days after Gentry had two outfield assists in a 6-2 win over the Angels.
Young again: With a two-out single in the sixth frame, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games. It’s the third-longest active streak in the American League and his second-longest streak of the season.
Not so fast, Nelson: Texas had another good chance to score in the top of the fourth, but Nelson Cruz was inexplicably sent home on a David Murphy two-out double to the right-field corner. By the time Cruz came around from first base and rounded third, Mariners cutoff man Kyle Seager already had the ball and threw Cruz out by a mile.
Finally, a free pass: Beavan walked Gentry in the eighth inning before he was pulled. That was Texas’ first base on balls in 26 innings.
Up next: Texas righty Ryan Dempster (11-7, 3.08 ERA) will take the mound in the final game of this six-game west coast swing. He’ll be up against left-hander Jason Vargas (14-10, 3.92 ERA), who won the American League Pitcher of the Month award in July and is 2-1 in September.