Rangers 5, Mariners 3
Rod Barajas homered to give Texas the American League record for most home runs in a season at home, and Rupe allowed two runs over five innings as the Rangers beat the Mariners 5-3 on Friday night.
Rupe, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on Monday, allowed six hits, struck out three and walked one. He became the first Ranger to start and win his major league debut since Justin Duchscherer in 2001.
The first three Mariners reached base against Rupe, with Raul Ibanez collecting an RBI single. Barajas went to the mound to calm the rookie, and Rupe went on to strike out Richie Sexson, then got Adrian Beltre to hit into a double play.
“I was a little amped up, but after the first couple of hitters, I settled down,” Rupe said. “(Barajas) told me to calm down, that I didn’t have to throw it as hard as I can. Let the ball move.”
Rupe’s goal coming into his first game: “Don’t get shelled and give the team a chance to win.”
Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 33rd save. He struck out Sexson with runners on first and third to end the game.
Hernandez (3-4) went three innings-plus, the shortest of his nine major league starts.
The 19-year-old Venezuelan, the Mariners’ top pitching prospect, gave up five runs and eight hits, struck out four and walked three.
“He didn’t have command of anything,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “He got away with some hanging breaking balls early, but he didn’t get away with the one he threw to Barajas. It wasn’t a good night for Felix.”
Hernandez is one of the most publicized young pitchers in the majors, and he won two of his first three starts. But he’s earned a victory in only one of his last six starts, and he admits he has a lot more to learn about pitching in the majors.
“I tried to throw my breaking ball, but nothing seemed to work so I was behind in the count a lot,” Hernandez said through his interpreter, third base coach Carlos Garcia. “And when I threw the fastball, they hit it and it found holes. Tonight was one of those nights when nothing seemed to work.”
Barajas’ two-run shot in the fourth was the 146th at home by Texas, one more than the record set last season by the Chicago White Sox.
The Rangers also tied a club record, established in 2001, with their major league-leading 246th homer.
Texas is three short of equaling the big league record for homers in a home park set by Colorado in 1996.
Seattle set the overall major league mark with 264 home runs in 1997.
Barajas didn’t realize his homer set a record.
“It feels good to be a part of a team doing special things,” he said. “It’s exciting how we’re swinging the bats.”
The Rangers went in front 5-1 with a three-run fourth that included Barajas’ 19th homer and Mark Teixeira’s RBI single.
Yuniesky Betancourt’s RBI single in the sixth pulled Seattle within 5-2, and Sexson’s run-scoring double in the seventh made it 5-3.
Seattle could have moved closer in the seventh on Sexson’s RBI double, but Ibanez was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Ibanez ran through a stop sign at third, and then failed to slide and was tagged out by Barajas after a perfect relay from shortstop Michael Young.
“I didn’t see the stop sign at all, and then I didn’t see that (Barajas) was blocking the plate until it was too late,” Ibanez said. “If I slide, maybe it’s a one-run game.”
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki was hit in the base of the right foot by Cordero in the ninth, but X-rays were negative. … Augie Garrido, coach of the NCAA champion Texas Longhorns, was honored before the game and sat with Rangers owner Tom Hicks. Longhorns catcher Taylor Teagarden, the Rangers’ third-round draft pick in June, took batting practice before the game. … Rupe’s win gave Texas 26 victories from rookies, the most since a club-record 45 in 1986. He’s the 30th pitcher used by the Rangers this season, matching last year’s club record. … The Rangers have won four of six.