Rangers' Matt Harrison continues dominance of Mariners
The Rangers' starter won his ninth straight game over the Mariners, and his fourth this season, in a 2-1 victory for Texas.
Special to The Seattle Times
ARLINGTON, Texas — Matt Harrison continues to mystify the Mariners.
While the Rangers' All-Star left-hander has put together an outstanding season overall, he has been nothing short of dominant against the Mariners this year.
Following a 2-hour, 12-minute rain delay to start the game, Harrison delivered a gem of a performance Sunday, limiting the Mariners to just one run on six hits on his 27th birthday in a 2-1 Texas victory.
It was Harrison's ninth straight win over the Mariners, including a 4-0 mark with a 1.11 earned-run average in four starts this season.
Seattle lost for the third time in their last four contests and concluded their six-game road trip with a 3-3 record.
"He's a good pitcher," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He did a good job coming in at both left-handers and right-handers; he works that changeup off the fastball. He's able to cut his fastball or sink it, rides it every now and again — a nice breaking ball."
Seattle wasn't able to advance a runner past first base before Justin Smoak popped a solo home run to left to lead off the eighth inning, pulling the Mariners to 2-1.
For Smoak, who was 2 for 3 on the day following a three-hit, three-RBI performance Saturday, it was his 16th home run of the year and second in as many games.
"Against Harrison, it's tough. He's been tough against us every time we've faced him," said Smoak, who was hitting .190 before his big night Saturday. "I think a lot of teams would say that, but it's one of those things where, if we get somebody on, we could hit them in, but there wasn't much going for us today."
Wedge said Smoak should take plenty of confidence away from the series with Texas.
"You could see the way he hit the ball to right field from the right side, and he hits the ball out to left-center field — the three knocks last night, big hits for us from the left side," Wedge said. "He just needs to take that confidence from here and just keep going."
The Mariners threatened in the ninth, as Jesus Montero came through with a clutch two-out single to right that advanced Franklin Gutierrez to third and denied Harrison (17-9) his fourth complete game of the season.
Reliever Koji Uehara came on for Texas and struck out Michael Saunders for the final out.
"It was a good ballgame. We took it all the way to the end," Wedge said. "They had a fight all the way through, and that's what we did, too. We had guys up there that we wanted up there in those situations, but they got the last out."
Meanwhile, former Ranger draft pick Blake Beavan (9-10) sparkled in a losing cause for the Mariners, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings.
Beavan, who is from nearby Irving, has posted a 3.72 ERA in three starts here, despite falling to 1-2.
"It's fun every time I come back here to pitch," said Beavan, who was chosen by Texas in the first round (17th overall) in 2007 before a trade to Seattle in 2010. "I felt good today with just my location, and I just tried to focus on finishing all my pitches."
Added Wedge: "Blake did a nice job today. He moved his fastball around, missed a few spots, but was effective with his fastball. He was dropping his breaking ball in there, went to his slider a little bit. He had a strong presence on the mound, I thought. He gave us a chance to win."
Former Mariner Adrian Beltre launched a one-out solo home run to left in the fourth inning, his eighth homer in his past 16 games and 33rd of the season, to give Texas the 1-0 lead.
"That pitch to Beltre, the one you don't finish, that's how it happens," Beavan said. "You're not going to get much by him right now."
The Rangers added another run in the fifth when Mitch Moreland's grounder down the first-base line eluded the diving Smoak and ended up in the right-field corner for a double that enabled David Murphy to score from first base.