Mariners 11, Rangers 6
SEATTLE (AP)—Ryan Feierabend has a tattoo of a screaming baseball with flames trailing on his pitching shoulder. That’s how the ball must have looked to Seattle’s rookie left-hander on the two long homers he allowed in the first four innings.
But the 21-year-old Feierabend allowed one single over his final four innings to earn his first career win behind Jose Lopez’s four hits. Lopez’s three-run double highlighted a five-run fourth and put the Mariners ahead for good in an 11-6 victory over the bumbling Texas Rangers on Sunday.
“It’s incredible—and my contacts are burning,” Feierabend said, wiping the shaving cream from closer J.J. Putz’s celebratory pie out of his eyes after allowing seven hits and striking out five in 7 1-3 innings.
With his wife, parents and extended family watching on satellite television back in Elyria, Ohio, Feierabend (1-1) used a consistent slider and changeup.
Feierabend, replacing the injured Horacio Ramirez in the rotation, walked one and received an extended standing ovation when he left the game. But he knows he will probably be back to Triple-A Tacoma when No. 5 starter Jeff Weaver is activated from the disabled list, likely this week. Even though Weaver is 0-6 with a 14.32 ERA, the Mariners are paying him $8,325,000 this season.
“I said, `Don’t worry about what the future holds,”’ Feierabend said. “I’d be happy if I stayed up here … but if I go down, I’ll just work on improving and coming back up.”
Victor Diaz homered twice and had a career-high five RBIs, and Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run for Texas. But the last-place Rangers lost a fly ball in the sun, threw three balls past first base, had a passed ball that allowed another run, and botched what should have been an inning-ending out that would have prevented Seattle’s decisive rally.
Texas hasn’t won a road series against AL opponents in nine tries this season and is a season-high 15 1/2 games back in the AL West.
“We totally fell apart,” exasperated Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Robinson Tejeda (4-6), who hadn’t made it past three innings in either of his previous starts, faltered with his defense during Seattle’s big fourth.
Tejeda walked Ben Broussard and hit Willie Bloomquist in the ribs with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases with two outs. Fill-in Jamie Burke then hit what Tejeda glumly called “a routine groundball” that clanged off the glove and hand of third baseman Matt Kata, who could have ended the inning by jogging to the nearby base for a force out. Instead, the generously scored single cut Texas’ lead to 4-2.
“Why wouldn’t he run over there and try to get in front of the ball?” said Washington, a former major league infielder. “There is no inexperience at the position. He is a major league ballplayer.”
Tejeda then walked Ichiro Suzuki to force in Broussard and make it 4-3. Then Lopez cleared the bases with his double off the top of the left-field wall to give Feierabend the lead.
Lopez’s four hits came after he got a morning surprise: his name in the No. 2 spot on the lineup card for the first time this season. He spent the first months of last season there and hit so well he made his first All-Star team. But he has generally been at the bottom of the lineup since.
“The second guy in the lineup’s job is to take more pitches for the team. … Taking more pitches for me is better,” Lopez said.
“Ball gets hit in the sun, you fight to get it out of the sun,” said Washington, still squashing excuses.
Betancourt stole third base and scored on a squeeze bunt when Burke put a pitch in play that was near his neck. Burke staggered and then fell at the plate while Betancourt scored on the sacrifice to make it 7-4.
“At least at eye level I could watch the ball hit the bat,” Burke said, chuckling. “I’ll probably be on ‘bloopers.”’
So might the Rangers. After Tejeda walked Suzuki, Wes Littleton entered. Ian Kinsler made a nice backhanded stop of Lopez’s grounder but bounced his throw past Teixeira for an error. Lopez scored on Jose Guillen’s third hit and third RBI. Guillen scored on a single by Raul Ibanez to make it 10-4.
Tejeda allowed a season-high eight runs on eight hits, struck out four and walked three in 5 2-3 innings.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first because Tejeda threw a check-swing grounder by Lopez down the right field line for a single and two-base error. Lopez scored on Guillen’s single.
Teixeira tied it in the second by homering for the second time in two games since he got a mild concussion Friday night on a play at the plate.
Seattle is 7-3 when C Burke starts for Kenji Johjima. … Burke is 5-for-7 in his career with the bases loaded. … Tejeda has lost five of his last six starts. … Betancourt extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in the majors. The previous longest, 25 games by Suzuki, ended Saturday.