The Mariners waited a long time — two hours, 12 minutes — to do virtually nothing Sunday. Once an Arlington, TX., rainstorm passed, the Mariners, for the fourth time this season, could do little against Texas lefty Matt Harrison, losing the game 2-1 and an opportunity to win a second series from the Rangers.
Harrison, improving to 17-9, ran his record to 4-0 against Seattle this season, easily winning his pitching match-up with Blake Beavan, who pitched well. Beavan (9-10, 4.88 ERA) allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 7.0 innings, but an Adrian Beltre home run put him in a hole and the Mariners couldn’t give him any run support.
The Mariners (70-77), who finished the six-game road trip 3-3 and did not have one multi-hit inning Sunday, fell 17.5 games behind the Rangers in the AL West race. That matches the farthest behind Texas they have been all season.
Harrison, who beat the Mariners 3-1 May 22, 4-2 May 28 and 4-0 July 15 with a nine-inning shutout, went 8.2 innings and allowed six hits, one run and recorded five strikeouts with one walk. Harrison has won his last 10 decisions against Seattle.
The Rangers got on the board in the fourth when Beavan left a fastball out over the plate and Beltre, the former Mariner (2005-09), whacked his 33rd home run over the right field wall. It was the 21st home run allowed by Beavan.
In the fifth, Mitch Moreland, following a David Murphy single, doubled down the first-base line past a diving Justin Smoak, driving home Murphy for a 2-0 Texas lead.
The Mariners got a run back in the eighth when Smoak homered on a full count to lead off the inning. But Harrison retired Miguel Olivo, Trayvon Robinson and Brendan Ryan to escape further damage.
The Mariners placed runners at first and third in the ninth when Franklin Gutierrez walked and Jesus Montero blooped a single to right. That chased Harrison, but Michael Saunders whiffed on a ball in the dirt from reliever Koji Uehara to end the game.
The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night to begin a six-game stand against the Baltimore Orioles Monday-Wednesday and the Rangers Friday-Sunday. Hector Noesi, demoted to Tacoma in June after he ran his record to 2-11, will start for Seattle against Chris Tillman, a former Mariner farm hand who has twice defeated Seattle this season.
Noesi will take Kevin Millwood’s spot in the rotation. Nursing shoulder stiffness, Millwood might have been pitched his final game of 2012. If so, he finishes 6-12, 4.25 ERA in 28 starts covering 161.0 innings.
NOTES: The Mariners held Casper Wells out of Sunday’s game as he tries to shake a stiff neck . . . Michael Saunders is the first Mariner with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases in the same season since Franklin Gutierrez in 2009 . . . The Mariners have finalized their pitching rotation for the homestand. Hector Noesi (Monday), Erasmo Ramirez (Tuesday) and Felix Hernandez (Wednesday) will pitch against the Orioles. Hisashi Iwakuma (Friday), Jason Vargas (Saturday) and Noesi (Sunday) will face the Rangers . . . The Mariners AA affiliate, Jackson, lost the Southern League Championship 3-1 to Mobile. No. 1 draft pick Mike Zunino finished the postseason hitting .379 in eight games.