SEATTLE (AP) — Once again, the Texas Rangers’ performance amounted to a big zero.
The Rangers did little against Felix Hernandez and were shut out for the second straight day in losing to the Seattle Mariners 5-0 Thursday.
A day after being held to one hit, Texas managed just three hits in eight innings off Hernandez. The Rangers were blanked for the fourth time on their 10-game road trip, and were shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since July 2013 at Cleveland.
“At this point of the year you don’t feel good about any loss,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “We are 5-5 on this trip and we get the opportunity to go home, sleep in our own beds and get up in the morning and play in our house.
“We got to find a way to get this offense going in the right direction,” he said.
The Rangers’ lead for the second AL wild-card spot was cut to one game over idle Minnesota. Texas missed a chance to gain on AL West-leading Houston and fell 2 1/2 games behind the idle Astros.
Nelson Cruz hit his 40th home run after missing the previous six games because of a strained right quadriceps. He matched his career high with a two-run shot off Derek Holland (3-2) in a three-run seventh. He also hit 40 last season with Baltimore.
“The first-pitch fastball to Cruz was really the one that did us in. I felt Derek pitched a little better than the line looked,” Banister said.
Hernandez (17-8) struck out eight and walked four. He tied Houston’s Dallas Keuchel for the most victories in the AL.
Mitch Moreland, who had two hits for Texas, said Hernandez “was on his game. When he is like that it is going to be tough.”
“He had everything working for him,” he said. “He was getting ahead, keeping the balls down, throwing every pitch for strikes. His off-speed was on. One of those days it’s tough to stand in the box and battle with him when he is on like that.”
Holland worked seven innings, allowing all five runs and nine hits.
“I felt like I did a good job,” he said, “all the way until the last inning. I attacked the zone. The home run pitch to Cruz just came in across the plate. I thought I did a pretty good job of battling with Felix, but he had us under control.”
Rangers: Slugger Josh Hamilton will have arthroscopic surgery on his ailing left knee Friday. The team is hopeful he can return before the end of the season.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (14-8, 4.68 ERA) will make his fourth attempt at a career-best 15th victory, at home against Oakland. He has struggled his past three starts, going 0-3 with a 8.62 ERA. He is 9-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 25 career starts against the A’s, his most wins against any opponent.
SETTING UP FOR HOUSTON
The Rangers are adjusting their rotation, pushing LHP Cole Hamels back one day to open up the crucial four-game home series with Houston that begins Monday. “That’s the way we wanted it,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “That’s why we got him (in a July 31 trade with Philadelphia).” Minor league prospect Chi Chi Gonzalez will take Hamels’ scheduled start Sunday against Oakland.