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One hit proves enough for Texas Rangers to beat Seattle Mariners

By
Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo. Photo by Michael Prengler/UPI
Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo. Photo by Michael Prengler/UPI | License Photo

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A little history to start the season isn't a bad thing for the Texas Rangers.

Texas was limited to just one hit in its season opener against Seattle, but that hit came in a three-run fifth inning that saw the Rangers score all three of their runs in a 3-2 victory over the Mariners.

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The win marked just the second time in club history the Rangers won a game while having either one or zero hits, with the other coming in 1993 against Kansas City. The Rangers also snapped the Mariners' nine-game Opening Day winning streak.

It wasn't a pretty offensive day for Texas or a pretty defensive fifth inning for Seattle, but the Rangers aren't complaining.

"I felt like we continued to grind at-bats out against a premier pitcher (Felix Hernandez)," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "We did something we weren't capable of doing all year long last year, that's put runs across the board on Felix. Our identity is we're going to run hard, play hard and grind at-bats out."

Seattle's defense helped the cause with two costly errors.

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Hernandez (0-1) walked Rougned Odor to lead off the inning with the Mariners up 2-0, and after Odor stole second, Elvis Andrus hit a grounder to third base. Seattle's Kyle Seager, who hit a solo homer in the second, booted the ball to put runners on the corners.

A one-out walk loaded the bases for Shin-Soo Choo, who drew a walk to force in a run and cut Seattle's lead to 2-1.

Prince Fielder tied the game with an RBI bloop single to left to keep the bases loaded.

Hernandez, who was making his eighth consecutive Opening Day start, appeared to get out of the inning when Adrian Beltre hit a potential double-play grounder to short, but Ketel Marte couldn't handle the ball and Delino DeShields scored to put Texas up 3-2.

The Fielder single ended up being the only hit the Rangers had in the game.

"I think Kyle maybe got a little anxious with the runner coming and a double-play ball," new Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "It happens. We're going to be fine. There was a lot of good things that happened in that ball game."

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Texas left-hander Cole Hamels (1-0) allowed a first-inning homer to Robinson Cano and the homer to Seager in the second, but that was it in terms of runs. He pitched seven innings, allowing just four hits while striking out eight and walking three. Shawn Tolleson picked up the save with a perfect ninth.

Hamels was hurt by the two homers early but was able to work around them, allowing just two hits over his final five frames in a 104-pitch outing.

"Obviously, I got (the Mariners) off to a good start, but at the same time, I've got to be able to focus and manage the game," he said. "I think that's what I was able to do along those lines throughout the game."

Hernandez struck out six and walked five in six innings, and he was charged with three runs (one earned). He fell to 6-1 in season openers.

Hernandez cited his lack of command as the reason he struggled Monday despite allowing just the one hit. Three of the five walks he issued came in the fifth.

"Five walks, that's not good," he said. "That's not me. I was missing a lot of pitches. All game, I would say I was wild, but when I got in trouble, I made good pitches. I was trying to find myself, trying to find my mechanics. I just got to get ready for the next one."

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NOTES: Texas third base coach Tony Beasley will be in the dugout as he continues to undergo treatment for rectal cancer. Spike Owen is serving as the interim third base coach. ... Texas OF Josh Hamilton will head to Arizona on Thursday when the Rangers begin their first road trip of the season. There is a chance Hamilton, who is rehabbing from left knee surgery, could begin a rehab assignment when the club returns to town April 14. ... LHP Cole Hamels was the eighth different starter the Rangers used on Opening Day in the past eight years. The last time a Texas pitcher started consecutive openers was Kevin Millwood in 2007 and 2008. ... Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez continued to add to his record for Opening Day starts for the Mariners. Monday's was the ninth for Hernandez. Hall of Famer Randy Johnson is second on the Seattle list with five. ... The Mariners opted to start Nelson Cruz in right field with Franklin Gutierrez at designated hitter. Cruz was the Seattle DH 72 times last season, but manager Scott Servais is trying to keep Gutierrez healthy. Gutierrez has been limited to 140 games since the start of 2012 because of injuries.

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