Rangers-Mariners Preview

The Associated Press

Texas' Matt Harrison opened the season in stellar fashion, but hasn't enjoyed much success over the past month.

Facing the Seattle Mariners could help him revitalize him.

Harrison looks to continue his dominance of the Mariners and help the Rangers even up this three-game series at Safeco Field on Tuesday night.

AL West-leading Texas (26-17) dropped Monday's opener 6-1, its fifth loss in eight games. Its usually formidable offense isn't playing up to its lofty standards, averaging 3.6 runs while batting .264 in the last eight contests.

Josh Hamilton continued to cool off, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Monday. The four-time All-Star remains the major league leader with 18 homers and 47 RBIs, but is 3 for 17 with two RBIs in his last five games as his batting average has dropped 25 points to .379.

While Texas isn't playing its best ball, Seattle (20-24) has matched a season-high four-game winning streak.

Jesus Montero drove in two runs Monday for the Mariners. He is 5 for 10 with five RBIs in his last three games after going 3 for 30 with one RBI in his previous nine.

This will be Montero's first look at Harrison (4-3, 5.21 ERA), a pitcher that has routinely frustrated Seattle hitters.

Harrison posted a 1.98 ERA while winning all four of his starts versus the Mariners last season, and is 6-0 with a 2.05 ERA in seven starts against them since 2009. Seattle leadoff hitter Dustin Ackley is hitless in 11 career at-bats against Harrison, while outfielder Mike Carp is 0 for 10.

The Rangers hope facing the Mariners can help Harrison regain the composure he displayed early in the season.

After recording a 1.66 ERA while winning his first three starts, the left-hander is 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA in his last five outings. He gave up three runs - all in the first inning - and eight hits while walking a season-high three in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4, 10-inning loss to Oakland on Thursday.

The Mariners will counter with Hector Noesi (2-4, 5.61), who permitted one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of Thursday's 6-5, 11-inning loss to Cleveland. The right-hander has a 3.10 ERA in his last three starts after recording a 7.83 ERA in his first five outings.

"I was really pleased with the way he pitched," manger Eric Wedge said after his last outing. "I think he's gaining a whole lot of confidence each time out.''

Noesi's difficult start to the season began with an outing in Texas on April 9, when he yielded seven runs and six hits - including homers to Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland - in three innings of an 11-5 loss.

Moreland provided all of the Rangers' offense Monday with a homer off Felix Hernandez to lead off the eighth inning. It marked the 15th straight game Texas hit at least one home run.

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