Texas Rangers: safeco field

Absence of big bats hinders Rangers

September, 22, 2012
9/22/12
1:21
AM CT
SEATTLE -- The absences of Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre not only affected the Texas Rangers at the plate but also in the field during Friday's 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

With Hamilton due to miss the entire series because of balance and vision issues and Beltre sitting out Friday with intestinal problems, the offense took a blow.

"Those are our horses," Rangers left fielder David Murphy said. "Between them, they have 70-something home runs and 200-plus RBI."

Precisely, it's 76 home runs, 228 RBIs and a whole lot of headaches for opposing pitchers. But Friday night, the Seattle pitching staff didn't have to deal with that.

Beltre is scheduled to start Saturday. He arrived in Friday night after undergoing tests in Los Angeles on Friday morning. Hamilton, on the other hand, will stay in Texas for the weekend in hopes of recovering from a sinus infection that has plagued him with balance and vision problems.

Murphy did his best to pick up the offensive load against the Mariners with the two big bats out of the lineup. He came into the game with just one hit in his last 11 at-bats but went 3-for-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.

"We're going to battle offensively and do whatever we can to scratch runs across," Murphy said of not having Beltre and Hamilton. "It hurts, but we're not at a point in the year when we can sit back and dwell on that. We have to keep playing good baseball and keep nailing down wins."

With Beltre not at third base, Michael Young was forced to the hot corner. The veteran made a key error on a tough grounder in the fourth that allowed an extra run to come across. Hitting in the three-hole, Young extended his hitting streak to 10 games but also grounded into two double plays.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game that his players don't pay attention to the team's medical issues.

"As long as we've got nine guys on the field, we are going to go out there and play together and try to win a ballgame together," he said. "We are not going to react to something we have no control over. We are going to put nine guys out there and compete."

For the skipper, it's not even about production at the plate at the end of the day.

"All of it will come down to pitching," he said. "If the pitching does a good job, we'll be fine."

Friday's starter, Martin Perez, made his first start since July 24 and gave up three runs in four innings. He certainly kept his team in the game, but Alexi Ogando gave up a two-run homer in the eighth that sealed it for the Mariners.

Rapid Reaction: Mariners 6, Rangers 3

September, 22, 2012
9/22/12
12:12
AM CT


SEATTLE -- The Texas Rangers, who were without Adrian Beltre (intestinal problems) and Josh Hamilton (blurred vision), fell 6-3 to the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Safeco Field. Starting pitcher Martin Perez struggled in his first start since July 24, giving up three earned runs in just four innings of work.

What it means: Oakland lost on a game-winning home run in New York, so the Rangers' American League West lead remains at four games. Texas' magic number to clinch the West shrinks to nine.

Perez has problems: The 21-year-old lefty pitched 4 1/3 innings of hitless ball against the Mariners last Sunday, but he didn't enjoy the same success Friday. Perez made his fourth career start and labored through four innings. The Venezuela native took 42 pitches to get through two frames and struggled with his control. He threw two wild pitches and gave up three earned runs off six hits.

Unlucky eight: Texas has gone winless in the last eight games that Perez has pitched this season. It's not as if Perez has pitched poorly -- his ERA sits at 3.78. Maybe it's just a bad coincidence.

Swapping spots: Scott Feldman came in to relieve Perez to start the fifth. Interestingly, it was Perez who took Feldman's spot in the rotation after Feldman gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings against Seattle last weekend. But the former starter was impressive out of the bullpen, striking out the side in the fifth and retiring eight of the nine batters he faced. He also fanned five in three innings.

Picking up the slack: David Murphy did all he could to make up for the absences of Beltre and Hamilton. He cranked out his first home run since Sept. 2 in the sixth inning and drove in all three of the Rangers' RBIs. Murphy came into Friday's game with one hit in his last 12 at-bats but ended the day a triple shy of the cycle.

Insurance runs: Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo provided a cushion in the eighth, sending a two-out, two-run homer into the left-field seats off Alexi Ogando to push the Mariners lead to 6-3.

Young keeps hitting, struggles on D: Despite a forgettable night on defense at third base, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fourth-inning single. Young has hit safely in 16 of 18 games and now has 116 hits at Safeco Field, the most ever for an opposing player at this park. But he also grounded into two double plays. On the field, Young had an error and saw several other opportunities whiz by him at the hot corner.

Up next: Left-hander Matt Harrison (17-9, 3.26 ERA) will try to become the Rangers' first 18-game winner since Kenny Rogers in 2004 on Saturday against Seattle. Beltre should be back in the lineup. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. on ESPN 103.3 FM and FSSW. Former Rangers prospect Blake Beavan (9-10, 4.88) starts for the Mariners.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182