Derek Holland scattered four hits over 6.2 innings, Nelson Cruz homered, and the Texas Rangers defeated Felix Hernandez and the Mariners 5-2 Saturday night at Safeco Field, a season-high eighth consecutive defeat. The Mariners (20-29), who were within one game of .500 a week ago, close out the three-game series with Texas Sunday afternoon.
Since taking two of three in New York May 14-16, the Mariners have been swept in four by the Cleveland Indians (three walk-off losses), buried 19-1 in a two-game series in Anaheim, and thumped twice by the Rangers, who lead the AL West by 5½ games. The Mariners are now 12 games out in the division race.
The Rangers (32-17) battered Hernandez for five earned runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings. Although he fanned nine and walked just one, Hernandez suffered his second consecutive loss. He has not recorded a win since beating the Pittsburgh Pirates May 8.
Hernandez is 12-18 in his career (since 2005) against the Rangers. No other team has beaten him more than 12 times (Angels).
Holland ran his career mark against Seattle to 8-2 by allowing just four hits — no earned runs — in 6.2 innings. He struck out 10, walked three and threw 77 of his 119 pitches for strikes. Seattle just one extra-base hit and four singles.
The Rangers got to Hernandez for three runs in the second inning on consecutive singles by Mitch Moreland, A.J. Pierzynski and Jurickson Profar and a two-run double by David Murphy. The Mariners came back to make it 3-2 in the third on a two-run double by Kendrys Morales. Texas increased its lead to 4-2 in the fifth on Cruz’s home run, his 12th of the season.
The Rangers took a 5-2 lead in the sixth when Murphy singled, driving home Leonys Martin, who tripled.
Sunday, Seattle will send Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 2.37) to oppose RHP Nick Tepesch. On Monday, the Mariners begin a four-game stretch against the San Diego Padres. The first two are at Safeco Field Monday-Tuesday and the second two at Petco Park Wednesday-Thursday.
NOTES: Carlos Triunfel, called up from AAA Tacoma, got the start at second base in place of Dustin Ackley and went 0-for-3 . . . Triunfel’s start meant that manager Eric Wedge had used 46 lineups in 49 games . . . The Mariners will wear desert-camouflage caps with authentic digital patterns licensed from the Marine Corps Monday for Memorial Day’s 1:10 p.m. PT game against the San Diego Padres . . . Jesus Montero had a double and a triple in AAA Tacoma’s 9-5 win over Reno Saturday night. Franklin Gutierrez homered and Blake Beavan went 6.2 innings for the win.