Still, he doesn’t mind three RBIs from his No. 9 hitter.
“What he hits is not important to me,” Washington said. “It’s how he gets the pitchers through innings is what’s important to me. … But there are times he’s going to go up there and get big hits for you. He’s not just an out.”
Teagarden and Marlon Byrd both had two-out, two-run doubles and drove in three runs, and Texas took advantage of Felix Hernandez’s wildness for a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Teagarden guided Vicente Padilla through 5 2-3 strong innings, as the right-hander made his first start since late August after a brief stint on the disabled list. As pleased as Washington was with Teagarden’s offensive contributions, it was his performance behind the plate that was most impressive.
“A catcher’s job is to have a positive impact on your pitching staff. That’s what his only job should be,” Washington said. “I think Taylor Teagarden is doing a good job. He’s been in sync with the guys he’s out there catching and that’s what he brings.”
The Rangers’ potent offense took advantage of a night where Hernandez had no feel and no consistency. He was all over the place from the beginning, hitting leadoff batter Joaquin Arias to start the game. It didn’t get much better for the Mariners’ young ace and the highest-scoring team in the American League took advantage of the pitches Hernandez left in the strike zone.
Byrd’s double came in the first inning on a ball that likely should have been caught by left fielder Raul Ibanez. Teagarden’s shot was in the fifth when reliever Randy Messenger was one pitch away from getting out of a major jam.
Hernandez hit three batters, allowed a season-high tying six earned runs and walked four.
“It was a horrible night for me,” Hernandez said. “I hit three batters; I’ve never been like this.”
Padilla was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and won for the first time since July 25 against Oakland. After the stint on the DL with a strained left hamstring, Padilla (13-7) showed very little rust, not allowing an earned run, and giving up six hits. He added five strikeouts and won his 10th road game of the season.
Warner Madrigal got the final four outs for his first career save.
“Vicente was good for not pitching in almost three weeks. He wasn’t erratic and threw good pitches when he needed to,” Washington said.
While Padilla rolled through the Mariners lineup, Hernandez (9-10) lost for the fourth time this year to the Rangers. Just a week ago, Hernandez allowed one run in 7 1-3 innings against the Rangers in hitter-friendly Arlington, yet looked nothing like that on Tuesday.
Byrd’s double in the first came when Ibanez jumped into the padded fence, but slightly misjudged the ball and had it fall between his arms and the fence. Arias and Josh Hamilton scored on the play.
In the second, Teagarden and Michael Young had RBI singles to make it 4-1. Hernandez escaped trouble in the third and fourth innings, then led off the fifth by hitting Byrd. After Hank Blalock’s single put runners on first and second, Hernandez let loose a wild pitch to Nelson Cruz. Standing at the mound with slumped shoulders, Hernandez briefly forgot to cover home and Byrd tried scoring from second. Hernandez got to the plate in time to tag out Byrd, but proceeded to walk Cruz and was lifted.
How bad was it for Hernandez? He hit Young in the fourth inning on a pitch that was supposed to be outside.
“A horrible night,” he repeated.
“I’ve found a few hits here the last few games and I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable,” Teagarden said.
Texas lost its best hitter for average, Milton Bradley, after just one swing. Bradley fouled off the first pitch he saw from Hernandez in the first, and immediately grabbed at his back and walked into the dugout. The team said he strained a muscle and will be day-to-day.
The four Texas batters hit by pitches tied a franchise record set four other times, the last coming in 2003 against Tampa Bay. … Seattle will use a bullpen by committee on Wednesday, deciding to give RHP Brandon Morrow one more day of rest before making his second major league start Thursday against the Angels. … Mariners RHP Carlos Silva, who was scratched from his last start, will throw a bullpen session on Saturday in Anaheim and start on Monday in Kansas City.