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Rangers shell Hernandez, Mariners in 12-4 win

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Texas Rangers rookie Martin Perez out-dueled Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez for the second time this month, although on this day that was no great feat, and also made a little history along the way Wednesday afternoon.

The Rangers tagged Hernandez for 11 hits and nine runs on the way to a 12-4 win over the Mariners as Perez earned his club-record fifth victory in the month of August. Texas (77-55) closed out its fourth sweep in the Rangers' past seven series, while Seattle stumbled to its sixth loss in a row.

While Hernandez endured his shortest outing of the season -- he was pulled after giving up four hits without recording an out in the fourth inning -- Perez (8-3) allowed five hits and two runs over six innings to become the first rookie in Rangers history to win five games in a single month.

He gave up solo home runs to Seattle's Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager, but both came after the outcome was no longer in doubt.

"He's growing. You're watching it right in front of your eyes," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Perez. "You just need to watch it and enjoy it."

Hernandez (12-8) continued an August slide that has seen his ERA swell from a league-leading 2.34 at the end of July to 2.97 in less than a month, and Wednesday's performance was his worst yet.

He was tagged for 11 hits in three-plus innings and, after Adrian Beltre sent reliever Brandon Maurer's second pitch over the left-field fence for a two-run homer in the fourth, was charged with a career-high eight earned runs.

"That was embarrassing," Hernandez said in the post-game clubhouse. "Terrible. ... I was a little bit up (in the strike zone); that was the problem. Everything I threw, they hit."

The Rangers' Leonys Martin had a career-high four RBIs before the fifth inning, with his most crushing blow coming on a three-run homer in the top of the second. That gave Texas a 3-0 lead, and things just got worse for Hernandez after that.

Texas scored twice in the third inning, both runs coming when Geovany Soto's fly ball to shallow left caught Raul Ibanez by surprise and fell in a for a two-run single.

The first four Texas batters in the fourth inning recorded hits off Hernandez, with RBIs from Martin, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler building the Rangers' lead to 8-0 before Seattle's starter was finally pulled after 78 pitches.

"We came out, and when (Hernandez) left some fastballs over the plate, we didn't miss them," Washington said. "We found the barrel of the bat, and we were able to put some on him."

Maurer then came in and gave up a two-run homer to Beltre on his second pitch, giving Texas a 10-0 lead.

The Rangers piled up 17 hits, including a solo homer from Mitch Moreland that gave Texas an 11-2 lead in the top of the seventh.

Seattle didn't get a hit off Perez until the fourth inning, and the Mariners' first run came on an Ackley's solo home run in the fifth. Seager added his solo shot in the sixth.

The 22-year-old Perez is now 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA in August. He beat Hernandez in a 12-4 win over the Mariners on Aug. 17.

Manager Eric Wedge still hasn't tasted victory since returning from a month away to recover from a July 22 stroke. The Mariners are 0-6 since Wedge came back on Friday, having been outscored 38-12 over that span.

"I don't like the way we played this entire homestand," Wedge said after Wednesday's loss. "Overall, we're still pretty sloppy. And there's no excuse for that this time of year."

NOTES: The Mariners announced after Wednesday's game that RHP Taijuan Walker, the organization's 21-year-old top prospect, will make his Major League debut as Friday's starter in Houston. Walker will fill the void left when veteran Aaron Harang was designated for assignment earlier this week. Walker went 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma after being promoted from Double-A in June. He had 64 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings of work at the Triple-A level. ... Mariners OF Franklin Gutierrez now has six home runs in just 20 games this season. The injury-plagued veteran was not in the lineup Wednesday, as the Mariners are trying to lighten his load in an effort to keep him healthy. ... The nine runs scored on Hernandez fell one shy of a career high. He gave up 10 runs -- five of them earned -- in a May 2006 loss to the A's. The eight earned runs were a career high; twice last season, Hernandez allowed seven earned runs. ... Wednesday matched the second-shortest outing of Hernandez's career and was his shortest since getting pulled in the first inning of an April 2007 game against Minnesota.
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