Struggling Seattle stymied by Texas

Struggling Seattle stymied by Texas

ARLINGTON -- Mariners manager John McLaren looked like a guy who had a bad day, on top of having a bad week and a bad month.

After the Mariners' 5-2 loss to Texas on Tuesday night, their 11th loss in 13 games, McLaren ran down the litany of things that didn't go right for his team on this night.

McLaren said starter Felix Hernandez wasn't bad, but he added he wasn't good, either. Hernandez walked five and gave up the lead in the bottom of the sixth after the Mariners had tied the game at 2 in the top of the inning.

McLaren noted Seattle's offense hasn't done much in the last week in two games against Texas starter Kason Gabbard, except for Richie Sexson's tackle during last week's bench-clearing brawl.

And McLaren pointed out that the Mariners seem unable to get the big hit that allows them to string a rally together.

McLaren later got to the four errors Seattle made Monday night, all of this happening in front of general manager Bill Bavasi, who is on the road trip.

"We have to stay together as a group," McLaren said after giving his rundown on a loss that leaves the Mariners with a 15-26 record. "We can't start drifting off as individuals. We're in this together. We have to believe in ourselves and our teammates.

"We are dealing with a few issues," the manager added.

McLaren didn't get into his team's issues, but he is particularly confused by the defense. The Mariners have two Gold Glove winners from last year -- center fielder Ichiro Suzuki and third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Yet, the Mariners came into the game 12th in the American League with 27 errors, and that's before the four they made Tuesday. Three of the errors led to three unearned runs, the final three the Rangers scored.

"It puzzles me a lot," McLaren said. "That's one of the big strengths of our ballclub. ... When you build a team around pitching, you have to play defense."

Which brings the night to Hernandez.

The Mariners were a chic pick by many so-called baseball experts to win the American League West because of the formidable tandem of Hernandez and Erik Bedard.

The twin aces have combined to go 0-5 for the month, and the Mariners are 0-6 when they have started. It helps explain the Mariners' plight, though Hernandez wouldn't pin it on that.

"That's baseball," Hernandez said. "We have to stay together and keep working hard, and things are going to turn around."

Hernandez said he tried his best Monday, and he commended the Rangers on playing unbelievable defense. Texas robbed Seattle of at least three hits.

Hernandez did say he's throwing too many fastballs. He said his changeup was good, but McLaren wondered after the game why he wasn't throwing the pitch more often.

McLaren also said Hernandez isn't attacking the strike zone enough, something Hernandez didn't agree with.

"I'm attacking the strike zone," Hernandez said. "I'm trying it."

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead on Hernandez on Gerald Laird's single in the second and on Hernandez's wild pitch that scored Laird in the fourth.

The Mariners scored twice in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Jose Lopez and a double by Kenji Johjima.

But Hernandez was unable to keep the game tied, giving up a run in the bottom of the inning. Laird singled and took second on Raul Ibanez's bobble in left field. After Laird was bunted to third, Mariners killer Ramon Vazquez -- who had the walk-off home run in the Rangers' 13-12 win Monday -- controlled the at-bat against Hernandez and hit a sacrifice fly to left field.

The Rangers took advantage of right fielder Wladimir Balentien over-running the ball in the bottom of the eighth to score two runs, taking away a possible one-run game heading into the ninth.

"Are we doing everything we can?" Ibanez said. "Are we playing as well as we can? Not yet."

But Ibanez isn't concerned yet about the team staying together.

"It's not going to splinter," Ibanez said. "We're not going to let it splinter."

But on a bad night, and after running down all the disappointing parts of the game, McLaren was ready to quit talking about this one.

"That's about it," McLaren said. "That's it."

Todd Wills is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.