Mariners-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers aren't concerned about two losses charged to closer Joe Nathan. With the way their starting pitching is performing, he figures to have plenty of chances to redeem himself this season.

The Rangers will try to bounce back from a disheartening loss Thursday when they complete a four-game series with the visiting Seattle Mariners.

Texas appeared on its way to a fourth straight win Wednesday before Nathan gave up three runs in the ninth, sending the Rangers (4-2) to a 4-3 loss.

Nathan, who has been charged with both of Texas' losses, signed a two-year deal in November with Texas, taking over the closer's role from Neftali Feliz. He converted 14 of 17 save chances in 2011 with Minnesota after returning from Tommy John surgery.

"He'll be fine,'' said Michael Young. "We have all the confidence in the world in Joe. We look forward to getting another lead and getting him back out there."

The blown save by Nathan soured another stellar effort from Texas' rotation. After Feliz pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday, Colby Lewis went 6 2-3 innings without giving up a run.

The Rangers starting staff has a 2.41 ERA with four quality starts and has allowed one homer in 37 1-3 innings.

Derek Holland (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will try to continue that run of solid pitching. He did not receive a decision in his season debut Saturday after giving up three runs and three hits in six innings of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Rangers manager Ron Washington told the team's official website that Holland needs to cut down on walks. He had three for the game, including two that eventually scored.

"Those are the type of things Derek has to get past, and he will," Washington said.

Holland is 5-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 10 appearances - six starts - against the Mariners. The left-hander went 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA versus them in 2011.

While Seattle didn't have much success against Holland last season, the Mariners will try to build off their late run production Wednesday. They had gone 23 consecutive innings without a run before rallying.

John Jaso had two hits, including a triple, in his Mariners debut while Jesus Montero, who made his first start behind the plate, drove in a run.

"I was happy to finally get in there,'' Jaso said. ''I thought it was a good debut for me in a Mariners' uniform.''

Seattle will close the series sending Jason Vargas (1-0, 2.31) to the mound for his third start of the year. He's pitched twice against the Athletics - once in Tokyo and again in Oakland last week.

Vargas allowed a two-run homer over 5 1-3 innings of a 7-3 win Friday. The Mariners provided him with one run of support his previous start.

The left-hander is 3-4 with a 4.53 ERA in his career against the Rangers, including 1-2 in Arlington.

Several Rangers have had good success against Vargas. Young is 10 for 24, Ian Kinsler 8 for 20 and Nelson Cruz 5 for 16 with three homers.

Kinsler homered for the third time this season Wednesday. He's 7 for 23 with six extra-base hits and five RBIs. Earlier in the day he finalized a $75 million, five-year deal that kicks in next season.

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