Guardado walks in winning run as Rangers beat M's

SEATTLE (AP) -- Mariners closer Eddie Guardado's postgame message
was as simple as his in-game problems.

"I blew it, guys," Guardado told his teammates in their eerily
quiet clubhouse immediately after he walked the bases loaded in the
ninth inning -- and then walked Phil Nevin to force in pinch-runner
Gerald Laird with the go-ahead run that gave the Texas Rangers a
4-3 win over Seattle on Thursday night.

"But we had a tough battle," starting pitcher Joel Pineiro
said Guardado told his teammates. "And we'll get them tomorrow."

Guardado (0-2) was appearing for the first time since allowing
Mark Loretta's two-run, game-winning homer Monday at Boston. And he
imploded again.

He angrily pounded his thigh with his glove after his third
walk, to Michael Young. Guardado briefly rallied, striking out Mark
Teixeira for the second out.

But then the closer walked Nevin on five pitches -- the fifth was
far outside -- to send the Mariners to their fourth loss in five
games. Texas had its first winning AL road trip of at least nine
games (5-4) since 2001.

"Eddie is a guy who usually comes right after you throwing
strikes," Nevin said. "So I was swinging coming out of the gate.
He just missed."

Francisco Cordero finished the ninth for his third save. He was
pitching for the fourth straight game and one night after allowing
four ninth-inning runs in a 9-6 Rangers loss.

"You don't do what he has done over a long period of time and
not have some mental toughness," Texas manager Buck Showalter said
of Cordero.

Guardado is getting a test of that.

"I don't even know when the last time I walked four guys,
period," Guardado said.

The last time was June 12, 1995, as a starter for Minnesota at

"I wanted them just to hit the ball," he said. "They couldn't
even do that because I was throwing so many ... balls."

Manager Mike Hargrove, unsolicited, announced the 35-year-old
will remain his closer. Guardado saved 36 games in 41 chances last
season, fourth most in team history.

"Eddie Guardado is a very good pitcher," Hargrove said. "He
is our closer -- and will remain our closer. Things will turn around
for him. I have absolute confidence in him."

Guardado said what made his failure even more galling was that
his team had rallied to tie the game with two outs in the eighth.
Raul Ibanez tied the game 3-3 with a double off Brian Shouse. Rick
Bauer (1-0) then came on to retire Richie Sexson and earn his first
victory since Sept. 29, 2004, when he was a Baltimore starter.

Sunday against the Red Sox, the Mariners came from behind to
take the lead in the top of the ninth before Guardado lost it in
the bottom half.

Texas starter Vicente Padilla allowed one run and three hits in
seven innings. He walked three and struck out seven five days after
he had become the first major league pitcher in five years to give
up home runs on three consecutive pitches, at Oakland.

Trailing 3-0, Ibanez hit a solo homer in the seventh. The
Mariners then got two runs in the eighth on Jose Lopez's fielder's
choice and Ibanez's double.

But then Benoit gave up a Jeremy Reed leadoff single in the
eighth. One out later, Benoit walked Ichiro Suzuki. Jose Lopez
fielder's choice force out made it 3-2. Then Ibanez scored Lopez
with his tying double.

Texas took a 3-0 lead in the sixth on Gary Matthews Jr.'s homer
and Kevin Mench's two-run double.

Seattle starter Joel Pineiro had matched Padilla through five
innings, also allowing only two hits. But with one out in the
sixth, Matthews hit a line drive into the right-field bleachers to
break the scoreless tie. It was his first home run in 30 games,
since last Sept. 5 at Minnesota.

When asked if he would say anything to Guardado about his tough
stretch, Pineiro shook his head.

"Not tonight," he said. "Maybe tomorrow, but not tonight."

Game notes
Texas has won the last five series in Seattle after going
0-11-2 in series at their AL West rivals. ... The most walks
Guardado had in a game last season was two, twice. ... Hours after
saying he was encouraged about finally getting an extra-base hit
and RBI with a ninth-inning double Wednesday, Seattle 3B Adrian
Beltre went 0-for-4, including grounding into two double plays.
Boos rained from the crowd of 17,917 ... Rain itself came down in
the ninth, forcing the Safeco Field retractable roof to close
during play. ... RHP Rafael Soriano entered for George Sherrill
with a man on in the seventh and struck out four in his 1 1-3
scoreless innings.