Series: Game 2 of 3

Texas leads 2-0 (as of 4/24)

Game 1: Friday, April 23
Game 2: Saturday, April 24
Game 3: Sunday, April 25

Mariners 0

(6-12, 2-6 away)

Rangers 3

(10-8, 6-3 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 24, 2004

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    SEA 000000000 0 7 0
    TEX 00000003 - 3 9 1

    W: J. Powell (1-0)

    L: F. Garcia (0-1)

    S: J. Nelson (1)

    Mariners lose fourth straight

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers are doing their best to leave the Seattle Mariners behind.

    Hank Blalock hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, and the Rangers beat the Mariners 3-0 on Saturday night to move two games over .500 for the first time in almost four years.

    "This is still early in the season," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll see where we go from here."

    Texas (10-8), which holds a share of the AL West lead for the first time since winning its 2003 opener, had not been two games over since it was 30-28 on June 8, 2000. The Rangers have finished last in the division the past four seasons.

    Seattle, which lost its fourth game in a row, has been in last place in the AL West for more than two weeks after winning more than 90 games the past four years. The last time the Mariners spent more than seven straight days in the cellar was in 1998.

    "There's not much else I can say to these guys," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "We lead the league in meetings this year."

    Jay Powell (1-0) allowed one hit in two innings, and Jeff Nelson finished the seven-hitter against his former team for his first save. Rangers starter Joaquin Benoit allowed five hits over six innings in his first start this season, striking out five and inducing a pair of double-play grounders.

    The Rangers picked a good team for Benoit to make his season debut against. He has given up just two earned runs to the Mariners in 23 innings.

    "It was kind of hard," Benoit said of not starting since Sept. 24 of last season, "But it's something I was trying to keep out of my mind. I didn't want to go out there and try to do too much."

    Seattle, which has hit into 11 double plays over the past four games, lost its fourth straight and was blanked for the second time this season. Texas got its second shutout.

    The Mariners came into the game 12th in the American League in runs.

    "We're struggling offensively right now," Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki said through a translator. "We're pressing because we want something good to happen."

    Freddy Garcia (0-1) took a five-hitter into the eighth, when Blalock homered with one out, his fourth of the season. Kevin Mench added a two-run double off Julio Mateo.

    "I didn't feel comfortable in my first couple of at bats against him," Blalock said. "I just wanted to stay back and hit something hard up the middle."

    Garcia, who did not speak to reporters after the game, gave up three runs and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings. In two other starts, he pitched seven scoreless innings only to get a non-decision.

    "He's a little snakebit right now," Melvin said. "He's pitched three games like that and he has nothing to show for it but a loss."

    Seattle threatened in the eighth when Dan Wilson singled off Powell leading off. Wilson was forced out at second on Quinton McCracken's bunt attempt, but McCracken stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Gerald Laird.

    Ichiro then took a called third strike, and Scott Spiezio hit an inning-ending flyout.

    Game notes

    Texas' Kenny Rogers will miss his scheduled start Sunday because of flu-like symptoms. Texas manager Buck Showalter said Rogers may be used out of the bullpen if needed on Sunday. ... Seattle's Raul Ibanez was not in the starting lineup because of a bruised tailbone he sustained Friday in a collision with Spiezio. ... The Rangers' Laynce Nix extended his hitting streak to six games. He has hit safely in eight of nine games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press