ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers could certainly use a bat like Josh Hamilton’s, even if not at his MVP form of five years ago.
They will have to wait a few more weeks before Hamilton can bring a possible boost to the AL’s worst-hitting team — .213 — and the only team still without consecutive wins this season.
Taijuan Walker allowed only an unearned run over seven innings, Nelson Cruz had an RBI single against his former team and the Seattle Mariners won 3-1 over the Rangers, who earlier Monday reacquired Hamilton from the Los Angeles Angels.
“I believe that these guys are, they’re continuing to grind it out. They’re obviously not getting the results that we want,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We’re talking about controlling the at-bats, controlling the emotions.”
After rain delayed the start of the game for 55 minutes, Yovani Gallardo (2-3) walked the first two batters and Seattle went on to score twice. That included an RBI single by Cruz for his majors-best 21st RBI and another run scoring on shortstop Elvis Andrus’ throwing error.
Texas ended its 10-day, eight-game trip Sunday winning at the Angels in the finale of a series played against the backdrop of Hamilton’s pending trade home. That deal was finally completed earlier Monday, less than halfway into the $125 million, five-year deal he signed in December 2012 after being an All-Star in each of his five seasons with the Rangers.
Hamilton, on the 15-day disabled list recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, reports Tuesday to the Rangers’ complex in Arizona for about 10 days. He will then play in some Triple-A games and could be activated the second half of May.
Five players in Texas’ starting lineup ended the night hitting under .200. That includes Shin-Soo Choo at .096 after going 0 for 4 to extend his hitless streak to 20 at-bats.
“It’s been a challenge for Choo this month. He continues to study,” Banister said. “This is a guy that we believe in what he’s going to be.”
Walker (1-2) struck out five and, after a visit from manager Lloyd McClendon with two on and two outs in the seventh, needed only one more pitch to get out of that jam.
“The only way you can learn to deal with that type of adversity and that type of situation is to go through it,” McClendon said. “And he did a nice job.”
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
Gallardo allowed three runs and three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. He threw 101 pitches, 35 in the first inning.
“After the two walks, for me, he bounced back,” Banister said. “We didn’t handle the baseball the way we should. … Had a chance to get a double play.”
The Rangers and Mariners both had their flights diverted late Sunday night because of severe storms that included some tornadoes in North Texas. Both teams had expected to arrive around midnight. But Seattle, coming from a game in Minnesota, was initially sent to San Antonio to wait out the weather. “Worst flight ever. #thankGoditsover” Seattle outfielder Justin Ruggiano tweeted. The Rangers’ flight from Los Angeles got diverted to Austin and didn’t get into Dallas until about 4:30 a.m.
Texas scored in a strange fourth. Carlos Peguero had a leadoff walk, but had to avoid being hit by Prince Fielder’s grounder before getting retired on the fielder’s choice. Adrian Beltre followed with a single, but he was out after getting hit on the base path by the grounder by Mitch Moreland, who was credited with a single. Fielder was sent back to second base, but then scored on a throwing error by shortstop Brad Miller.
Mariners: Lefty J.A. Happ (1-1) starts for Seattle, which has won consecutive games only twice this season.
Rangers: Left-hander Ross Detwiler (0-2, 10.95 ERA in his first three starts for Texas) gets a chance to show if that extra work with pitching coach Mike Maddux pays off. Detwiler last started April 19 at Seattle, which hit three homers and scored five times off him in 2 1-3 innings.