SEATTLE — Yovani Gallardo pitched to his strength against the Seattle Mariners: his defense.
Gallardo induced 11 ground-ball outs, including three double plays, in his six scoreless innings to help the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 3-1 Friday night.
"We have a good defense. We have some guys back there who can play good defense," said Gallardo (2-1). "They're going to do everything they can to get one out or turn the double play."
Rangers manager Jeff Banister was also pleased with Gallardo's outing.
"He made first-strike pitches tonight, getting ahead and pounding the ball in the zone," Banister said. "He was able to throw his secondary pitches when he needed to.
"But more impressively, he was able to work vertically. He got his fastball above the bat then dropped down for effect and induced 11 ground-ball outs."
Robinson Chirinos homered as the Rangers handed the Mariners their fourth straight loss.
Nelson Cruz had three hits, all singles, for Seattle to end his power streak. He had hit five home runs in the previous five games.
"He (Gallardo) kept the ball down and elevated up and in when he needed to," Cruz said.
Shawn Tolleson took over the Gallardo in the seventh worked out of a two-on, no-out jam. First baseman Adam Rosales made a diving stop to save a run and force a runner at second. Tolleson then struck out Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino.
"After Adam made that play at first I tried to throw it where they couldn't hit it," Tolleson said. "I was able to go up and in on those last two guys and get a swing and a miss."
Tanner Scheppers, just off the disabled list, gave up a run in the eighth on Seth Smith's sacrifice fly.
Neftali Feliz got the last three outs for his second save. It was also Feliz's 12th save in 12 chances against Seattle.
"We had our opportunities," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We just couldn't get the big hit to get us over the hump."
Prince Fielder put the Rangers ahead with an RBI double in the first, driving in Leonys Martin from first base. Chirinos made it 2-0 in the fifth with his second homer of the season, and Rosales added a two-out RBI single in the ninth.
Mariners starter J.A. Happ (0-1) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out three.
Mariners: RHP Tom Wilhelmson (hyper extended right elbow), who was placed on the DL last Saturday (retroactive to April 11) has spent the week resting his arm. He's expected to begin throwing again this weekend.
Rangers: 1B Mitch Moreland was a late scratch because of a sore left elbow. Rosales started at first.
CLOSING THE DOOR
Feliz has thrown 27 scoreless innings in 22 appearances against the Mariners. Seattle batters have hit just .080 against him (7 of 87) overall and .031 (1 of 32) at Safeco Field.
CLOSE BY HIS SIDE
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is not concerned over the uneven performances of closer Fernando Rodney against the L.A. Dodgers this week. He blew one save and gave up four runs in the ninth in another. "It's not the first time he's struggled and it won't be the last time he struggles. ...Trust me, closers don't grow on trees. I have full confidence that he'll bounce back and get it done."
Mariners: There was some uncertainty whether RHP Felix Hernandez (1-0, 3.00) would make his scheduled start Saturday because of a tweaked ankle and tender quadriceps. But he downplayed the injuries and manager Lloyd McClendon said he will be ready. The Mariners have not had a win from a starter since Hernandez's Opening Day victory.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (1-0, 3.38) has had six-days rest since his last start Sunday against Houston, a 6-4 loss. He has a career 3.91 ERA against Seattle and has thrown two complete games in Safeco Field.
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