GAME: Mariners (4-3, 2nd AL West, 0.5 GB) at Rangers (4-2, 1st AL West, 0.5 GA). GAME #: 8. SERIES: 4th of 4 games. MEETING (2012): 4th (Rangers lead 2-1). WHEN: Thursday, 11:05 a.m PT, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. PROBABLE PITCHERS: LHP Jason Vargas (Seattle, 1-0, 2.31) vs. LHP Derek Holland (Texas, 0-0, 4.50). STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Rangers L 1. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.
Everything pointed to another Seattle loss in Texas Wednesday until the Mariners — remarkably, unbelievably — erupted for three runs in the top of the ninth off Texas closer Joe Nathan and subdued the Rangers 4-3. The win snapped Seattle’s seven-game losing streak to Texas. The Mariners can split the four-game series with the Rangers by winning Thursday.
Jason Vargas (1-0) will start the 11:05 a.m. series finale against another lefty, Derek Holland, who has pretty much had his way with the Mariners on the few occasions he has faced them.
Following the game, the Mariners will fly back to Seattle for the first time in two months, where they will play the home opener Friday against the Oakland Athletics, Felix Hernandez receiving the start. That begins a 10-day, nine-game homestand, after the Mariners played their first eight on foreign sod. A closer look at Thursday’s starters:
MARINERS: LHP Jason Vargas (1-0, 2.31, ERA, 0.86 WHIP)
The 29-year-old Vargas, in his seventh major league season and fifth with the Mariners, will be making his third start and first against the Rangers.
A native of Apple Valley, CA., the 6-0, 215-pound Vargas was selected in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.
He made his debut with Florida July 14, 2005, pitching one inning of relief in a 13-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mariners acquired Vargas as part of a three-team swap Dec. 11, 2008, when the New York Mets sent him along with Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto and Aaron Heilman to the Mariners. The Mariners sent Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Jeremy Reed to the Mets.
The Mariners also sent Luis Valbuena to the Indians. The Mets sent Joe Smith to the Indians, who sent Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners.
Vargas brings a career record of 29-39, 4.49 ERA into the game, including a 23-31, 4.15 ERA with the Mariners.
- LAST START (April 6): Allowed two earned runs on five hits over 5.1 innings and recorded his first win of the year, a 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics in a game in which Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley each had three hits at the top of the order and Michael Saunders and Brendan Ryan each had two hits at the bottom of the order in a 13-hit Seattle attack.
- LAST VS. RANGERS: Allowed three runs on six hits over 7.0 IP in a 4-3 Seattle win Aug. 10; struck out three, walked four and allowed two home runs, but collected the win when Casper Wells drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: Has a 3-4 record and 4.53 ERA in 11 games, including nine starts covering 57.2 IP; has fanned 28 of the 244 batters he’s faced while walking 16; has allowed 10 home runs.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: Has appeared in six games, including five starts; 1-2 record with a 4.55 ERA and seven home runs allowed in 31.2 IP.
- LOVES TO FACE: David Murphy (0-for-11, .000 BA), Adrian Beltre (1-for-8, .125 BA), Josh Hamilton (3-for-17, .176 BA, 2 Ks), Elvis Andrus (5-for-24, .208 BA, 1K).
- HATES TO FACE: (Ian Kinsler, 8-for-20, .400 BA, 1 HR, 3 RBIs), Mike Napoli (8-for-23, .348 BA, 2 HRs, 3 BBs), Nelson Cruz (5-for-16, .313 BA, 3 HRs, 4 RBIs).
- CURRENT RANGERS VS. VARGAS: 49-for-178, .275 BA, 9 HRs, .822 OPS.
- March 29: Pitched well enough to win in Japan, but after he departed the game, the bullpen imploded, surrendering three home runs, greasing Seattles 4-1 defeat.
- April 6: Threw 91 pitches, 58 for strikes, finishing with an in-game ERA of 2.31 in a 7-3 Seattle victory, Vargas’ first win of the year.
RANGERS: LHP Derek Holland (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.000 WHIP)
The 25-year-old Holland, in his fourth major league season, all with the Rangers, will be making his second start and the seventh of his career against the Mariners.
A native of Newark, OH., the 6-2, 195-pound Holland was drafted by the Rangers in the 25th round of the 2006 amateur draft.
Holland made his MLB debut April 2, 2009, working 2.1 innings of relief against the Toronto Blue Jays (no-decision). Since then, Holland primarily has been a starter (64 of 80 games).
Holland averages 7.2 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per 9 innings pitched. He has a career record of 27-22, 4.73 ERA.
- 2011: Holland had by far his best season, posting a 16-5 record with a 3.95 ERA while working 198 innings. It marked Hollands first season with double digits in wins. He also led the American League in shutouts with four.
- LAST START: Took a no-decision in Texas 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox April 7; pitched 6 innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks; faced 24 batters, throwing 93 pitches, 57 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Recorded a 12-5 decision over the Mariners at Rangers Ballpark Sept. 25; worked 5 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk; allowed a pair of home runs (Alex Liddi, Chris Gimenez); went 3-0, 2.77 in four starts vs. the Mariners in 2011; fanned 27 and walked eight in 26.0 innings.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 5-1 record and 3.17 ERA in 10 games, including six starts over 48.1 IP; fanned 47 batters while walking 13; allowed four home runs, two in last start vs. Seattle.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: Has a 16-9 record and 5.22 ERA in 40 games, including 33 starts covering 196.2 IP; averages 7.3 Ks per 9, and allowed 30 home runs.
- LOVES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (0-for-6, .000 BA, 3 Ks), Michael Saunders (0-for-5, .000 BA, 3 Ks), Dustin Ackley (2-for-11, .182 BA, 5 Ks), Ichiro (6-for-25, .240 BA).
- HATES TO FACE: Casper Wells (3-for-3, 1.000 BA, 2 BB), Justin Smoak (4-for-11, .364 BA, 1 RBI), Chone Figgins (5-for-16, .313 BA, 1 2B).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. HOLLAND: 31 for 119, .261 BA, .296 OBP, 2 HRs, 30 Ks, 6 BB.
Mariners 4, Rangers 3
AT ARLINGTON, TX. (April 11): The Mariners appeared headed for their fourth loss, and third in a row to the Rangers, until John Jaso, making his Mariners debut, delivered a go-ahead single in the top of the ninth that sparked the Mariners to their first win over the two-time defending American League pennant winners in eight games.
Kevin Millwood seemed to be the luckless loser after the Mariners extended their scoreless streak to 23.1 innings, seven shy of the franchise record of 30 set in 2011, before Seattle finally scored a run that cut the Texas deficit to 3-1 in the eighth inning.
To lead off the ninth, Justin Smoak singled and Kyle Seager followed with a double. Jesus Montero knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Michael Saunders followed with a game-tying double to right-center. Saunders stole third and scored on Jaso’s base hit to center.
“I was happy to finally get in there,” said Jaso, who made 67 starts for Tampa Bay last season. “I thought it was a good debut for me in a Mariners’ uniform.”
For a long time, Texas led 1-0. But the Rangers took a 3-0 lead when Seattle reliever Steve Delabar gave up back-to-back homers in the seventh inning to Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. Delbar, a rookie right-hander, has now allowed four home runs in 4.2 innings.
Millwood retired 16 of the last 19 batters he faced and struck out seven. He had his former team off balance for a second straight night after Blake Beavan held the Rangers to one run on Tuesday.
Millwood received a no-decision and Lucas Luetge earned the win in relief. Brandon Leauge notched his third save.
AL WEST STANDINGS
MARINERS / STATS NOTES
- The Mariners went 3-for-11 with men in scoring position and left six men on base.
- Before scoring in the eighth inning (Dustin Ackley hit), the Mariners had gone 23.1 innings without a run.
- SS Brendan Ryan returned to the lineup Wednesday after being benched Tuesday by manager Eric Wedge for an errant throw on a double-play ball Monday that sparked the Rangers’ winning rally; he went 0-for-4.
- Montero made his first start of the season Wednesday at catcher, replacing Miguel Olivo, given the night off; Montero went 1-for-4.
- John Jaso, the club’s No. 2 catcher, made his first start of the season, subbing for Montero at DH, and collected his first hit as a Mariner, an eighth-inning triple; he wound up 2-for-4 with an RBI, the game winner.
- Dustin Ackley (2-for-4), Smoak (2-for-4), Saunders (2-for-4) and Jaso (2-for-4) had multi-hit games for the Mariners.
- The Mariners banged out 11 hits, the fourth time in five games they recorded double figures in base hits.
- Thursday’s starter, LHP Jason Vargas, is averaging 4.26 K’s per 9 and 1.42 BBs per 9.
- Ichiro (0-for-4 Wednesday) has 223rd career game with three or more hits, which ranks third among active players, trailing only Derek Jeter (265) and Alex Rodriguez (231), both of whom started their careers four years before Ichiro. Ichiro’s 753 multi-hit games rank fourth among active players, and No. 1 since his debut in 2001). Ichiro’s 47 games with four or more hits leads all active players.
- Through seven games, Brandon League, an All-Star in 2011, has three saves. League has saves in 31 of his last 33 save chances dating to last year.
- Seattle’s best — and worst — inning so far is the fourth. The Mariners have scored eight fourth-inning runs, but also allowed seven fourth-inning runs.
- Ichiro (3) and Kyle Seager (3) lead the Mariners in multi-hit games, Chone Figgins leads in multi-RBI games (2) and Seager leads in two-out RBIs (3).
- Through seven games, the Mariners have left 42 men on base, their opponents 43.
- Former Mariner third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Rangers went 4-for-9 with two runs scored in the first two games of the series, but went 0-for-3 Wednesday.
- The Mariners have been outscored through seven games, 30-28.
- The Mariners could welcome back OF Franklin Gutierrez (torn pectoral muscle) during the second week of May.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Yu Darvish became the first pitcher in more than 100 years to win his major league debut after allowing at least four runs in the first inning. Darvish defeated the Mariners Monday.
- The 7.0-inning outing by Neftali Feliz Tuesday marked his longest outing as a professional. His previous high: 6.2 for Class A Clinton in 2008.
- The Mariners bullpen allowed six HRs in season’s first five games. In 2011, M’s bullpen led the AL for fewest HR allowed (32).
- When the Mariners batted around Saturday-Monday, it marked the first time since Aug. 18-19, 2007 that they had batted around in consecutive games. Mariners have not batted around in three consecutive games since April 13-16, 2002.
- Erasmo Ramirez made MLB debut Monday, relieving Hector Noesi. Ramirez allowed one run, Josh Hamilton’s homer in the fourth inning (youngest Seattle pitcher at the time of debut since Ryan Feierabend, 21.022 on 9/13/06).
- Rangers and Mariners met 19 times in 2011, Texas taking 15 and outscoring Seattle 95-53.
- RHP Felix Hernandez celebrated his 26th birthday Sunday. Counting Saturday’s start at Oakland, Hernandez made 207 starts before turning age 26.
- Jesus Montero has started five games at DH. The franchise record for starts by a rookie DH is 52, set by Juan Bernhardt in the Mariners inaugural year, 1977.
- 18 of the Mariners first 27 games 2012 are the road (and 28 of first 43). The Mariners will have logged eight road games before playing at Safeco Field.
- According to Stats Inc., the Mariners had an average age of 28.33 when the Opening Day rosters were set, the second-youngest American League roster and the fourth-youngest in the majors.
- The Mariners roster features 7 rookies: RHP Steve Delabar, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, LHP Lucas Luetge, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, C/ DH Jesus Montero, INF Alex Liddi & INF Munenori Kawasaki. Last season the Mariners used 18 rookies, and had a club-record 12 players make their MLB debuts.
- According to The Associated Press, the Mariners have the 18th-highest payroll in the majors, at just under $82 million. That’s down from $94 million in 2011. Of the $82 million, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez and Brandon League take up slightly more than $58 million of that total (the Yankees have baseball’s top payroll for the 14th consecutive year, $198 million).
- LHP Lucas Luetge made his MLB debut Saturday night at Oakland, striking out the only batter he faced on three pitches (Josh Reddick). According to STATS Inc, Lucas is the second Mariner going back to 1997 (when pitch-by-pitch data became readily available) to strike out the first batter faced in a MLB career on just three pitches. Michael Pineda struck out Ian Kinsler last season (4/5/11) in his MLB debut. Records also show that he is just the fourth pitcher since 1997 to record a strikeout on 3 pitches to the only batter faced in a debut.
- Through seven games, the Mariners are batting 17-for-53 (.320) with runners in scoring position.
MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN
|Rec.||Home||Road||Day||Night||vs. RHP||vs. LHP||Hit HR||No HR|
MARINERS BATTING PROFILE
MARINERS PITCHING PROFILE
|4/12||Thr||at Tex||Vargas (0-0, 1.42) vs. Holland (0-0, 0.00)|
|4/13||Fri||vs. Oak||Hernandez (1-0, 1.42) vs. Colon (1-1, 0.00)|
|4/14||Sat||vs. Oak||Noesi (0-0, 1.42) vs. Milone (0-0, 0.00)|
MARINERS 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|Gm.#||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|1||3/28||at Oak||W, 3-1||1-0||W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)|
|2||3/29||at Oak||L, 4-1||1-1||W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|3||4/6||at Oak||W, 7-3||2-1||W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)|
|4||4/7||at Oak||W, 8-7||3-1||W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)|
|5||4/9||at Tex||L, 11-5||3-2||W: Darvish (1-0); L: Noesi (0-1)|
|6||4/10||at Tex||L, 1-0||3-3||W: Feliz (1-0); L: Beavan (0-1)|
|7||4/11||at Tex||W, 4-3||4-3||WL Luetge (1-0); L: Nathan (0-2)|