The defending American League champion Texas Rangers bashed two home runs and a two-run triple off Erik Bedard, making his first start since 2009, and defeated the Mariners 6-4 in the first game of a three-game series in Arlington, TX., played in front of 36,618 fans. The Mariners, who started the season 2-0, are now 2-2. Texas is 4-0.
Elvis Andrus hit a second-inning home run off Bedard, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Julio Borbon smacked a two-run triple in the second, and Nelson Cruz homered to center in the fourth, giving Texas a 4-2 lead.
“We’ve got a solid offense,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Anybody in the lineup can get you. Tonight Elvis got us going. And Cruz came back and got another one. … Anytime you’ve got that lineup, that’s what it’s all about.”
Cruz became the third player in major league history to homer in the first four games of a season, joining Willie Mays (1971) and Mark McGwire (1998).
Bedard (0-1), making his first start since July 25, 2009, worked 5 innings, and allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits. He struck out three and walked two. The Mariners lifted Bedard after he ran out of gas.
“It’s been a while,” Bedard said. “I had a rough couple years with injuries and stuff and I was glad to be back on the mound.”
Texas starter Derek Holland (1-0) went 6 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. Neftali Feliz, who had 43 saves in 2010, collected his first in 2011.
The Mariners, who out-hit the Rangers 10-7, received a three-hit game from Milton Bradley (double, pair of runs scored) and two-hit games from Justin Smoak (2-for-4), Miguel Olivo (2-for-4) and Jack Wilson (2-for-4), but botched numerous scoring opportunities, going 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and leaving six men stranded.
Smoak extended his hitting streak to 14 games, dating to the end of the 2010 season, and had a run-scoring double.
“Our guys stayed in the fight, they stayed in it the whole way,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
The Mariners play the second game of their two-game series against Texas on Tuesday at 5:05 p.m. RHP Michael Pineda will make his Major League debut for Seattle, and will oppose RHP Alexi Ogando, who went 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 2010.
Reigning Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez (1-0, 2.00) will make his second start of the season for the Mariners on Wednesday, contesting LHP C.J. Wilson, (0-0, 3.18).
The Mariners have an off-day Thurday, and will play their home opener Friday at Safeco Field against the Cleveland Indians.
NOTES: Monday night’s game marked the first of 19 contests between the Mariners and Rangers in 2011 . . . Ichiro, who went 1-for-5 with a double, had his first error of the season when he muffed a line drive (Rangers scored two runs as a result of the error and a walk by Bedard) . . . Friday night’s home opener will include a tribute to former broadcaster Dave Niehaus. His widow, Marilyn Niehaus, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Also, Felix Hernandez will receive his 2010 Cy Young Award, and Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez will be given their 2010 Gold Glove awards . . . Eric Wedge won the first two games of his Seattle managerial stint (at Oakland on Friday and Saturday), becoming one of five Seattle managers to win their first two games: Rene Lachemann won his first four in 1981, Dick Williams his first two in 1986, Jim Snyder his first two in 1988, and Daren Brown his first two in 2010. Wedge is the first to win his first two on the road . . . When Josh Lueke and Tom Wilhelmsen made their Major League debuts Sunday, it marked the first time (and just the second time in club annals) since 1982 that two rookie hurlers made their debuts in April. In 1982, Seattle’s two rookies were Edwin Nunez and Ed Vande Berg.