Rheinecker earns first win of '07 as Rangers edge Mariners

Summary: In his second start this season -- his first since June 5 -- left-hander John Rheinecker made a case for the fifth spot in the Rangers' rotation, scattering six hits and a walk while allowing no earned runs in seven innings to lead Texas past visiting Seattle in the opener of a doubleheader.

Closing time: Eric Gagne, after giving up three runs on four hits to the Mariners in the ninth inning in a non-save situation Monday, recorded his 15th save of the season by limiting Seattle to a leadoff single in the ninth Tuesday.

Figure this: The Mariners have lost four games in a row since pulling within a game of the Angels in the AL West.

Quotable: "He just pitched pretty darn good. Right now, he's not taken off the roster, so we'll see how that goes.'' -- Rangers manager Ron Washington on Rheinecker

-- ESPN.com news services

Rangers 2, Mariners 1

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- John Rheinecker got to Texas with a suitcase full of dirty laundry. After an impressive start, he may get to take it back on the road -- this time with the Rangers.

Rheinecker, recalled from a long trip with Triple-A Oklahoma to make his second start of the season, allowed only an unearned run over seven innings as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 in a doubleheader opener Tuesday.

"It puts me in position to go out and do it again, hopefully," Rheinecker said.

"Obviously, he did an excellent job," manager Ron Washington said. "He just pitched pretty darn good. Right now, he's not taken off the roster, so we'll see how that goes."

Although the Rangers won't need a No. 5 starter again until Aug. 4 because of two days off in the next week, Washington said Rheinecker could pitch out of the bullpen.

Rheinecker (1-0), recalled Monday, limited the Mariners to six hits. The only walk the left-hander allowed was to Jose Lopez, the second batter of the game who scored on a groundout after an error.

Eric Gagne, who gave up three runs in a non-save situation Monday night, pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.

The Rangers turned a pair of two-out doubles into runs off Ryan Feierabend (1-4), who was sent back to Triple-A Tacoma after being recalled earlier in the day to make the spot start.

Sammy Sosa had a double in the fourth and tied the game when Marlon Byrd hit a triple, his third in four games. Byrd didn't make the Rangers roster out of spring training, but is hitting .358 with six triples in 52 games since being recalled from Oklahoma on May 26.

The Rangers went ahead 2-1 in the fifth after a two-out double by Travis Metcalf, who came home on Michael Young's single.

"They didn't tell me when I would be sent down, but I knew this would only be one start," said Feierabend, a 21-year-old left-hander. "A couple of pitches were not the greatest. The triple by Byrd was a changeup that was supposed to be inside. But having an outing like this before going down was great."

After coming to spring training as a candidate to be the Rangers' No. 5 starter, Rheinecker instead started the season on the disabled list because of a back strain.

Rheinecker's only other start for Texas came June 5 at Detroit, when the overly excited left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in three innings. He had a different approach this time.

"I definitely took care of the energy problem I had in my first outing. I was definitely too amped when I went out there and was trying to throw through the catcher's chest protector," he said. "When situations get into crunch time, it's not throwing hard, it's easing off. ... It started when I woke up. I was consciously thinking about it."

After Lopez walked, he moved to third when All-Star shortstop Young booted Jose Guillen's grounder. He scored on Adrian Beltre's grounder.

Three of Rheinecker's four strikeouts came in the fifth, including Ichiro Suzuki and Lopez with two runners on to end the inning. After Yuniesky Betancourt's leadoff single in the seventh, Rheinecker got a double-play grounder before Ichiro's inning-ending comebacker.

"That was the ultimate for me," Washington said about how Rheinecker got Ichiro twice.

Seattle has lost four straight games since getting within one game of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.

The doubleheader opener was the makeup of a game that was rained out April 24.

Game notes
The Mariners have made up four of the six games they had postponed in April because of weather. They still have to make up two games from the entire four-game series at Cleveland that was snowed out. ... Betancourt snapped an 0-for-14 slump with his single. ... It was a tough game for home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom. In the fifth, he was hit on the hand by a bat that slipped out of Mark Teixeira's hands on a swing. Then, when Lopez struck out swinging in the eighth, the ball never hit the catcher's mitt and ricocheted off Cederstrom's chest protector. Pitcher Joaquin Benoit had to field the ball and throw to first to complete a rare 1-3 strikeout.