Mariners hit into 3 rally-killing double plays, lose fourth straight with 3-1 loss to Rangers

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners saw firsthand how hitting into double plays makes it tough for the offense to get going.

Returning home after losing five of six on a road trip, the Mariners grounded into three rally-killing double plays in a 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Seattle, expected to contend in the AL West, has now lost four straight.

"We had the opportunities," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We just couldn't get the big hit to get us over the hump."

Nelson Cruz had three hits, all singles, ending his power streak. He had hit five home runs in the previous five games.

Yovani Gallardo pitched six shutout innings, inducing 11 ground-ball outs, and three relievers held the Mariners in check.

The biggest threat came in the third with the bases loaded and one out. Gallardo then got Seth Smith to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.

"We have a good defense. We have some guys back there who can play good defense," Gallardo said. "They're going to do everything they can to get one out or turn the double play."

Cruz added, "he kept the ball down and elevated up and in when he needed to."

Robinson Chirinos homered in the fifth for T.

Prince Fielder put the Rangers ahead with an RBI double in the first, driving in Leonys Martin from first base. Robinson Chirinos homered in the fifth to make it 2-0, and Adam Rosales added a two-out RBI single in the ninth.

Shawn Tolleson took over for Gallardo in the seventh and worked out of a two-on, no-out jam. First baseman 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 Smith's sacrifice fly. Neftali Feliz got the last three outs for his second save of the season and 12th in 12 career chances against Seattle.

Mariners starter J.A. Happ (0-1) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out three.

"He was outstanding, a very nice job," McClendon said of Happ. "He gave us an opportunity to win a ballgame. He went deep, a much-needed rest for our bullpen."

TRAINER'S ROOM

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."

UP NEXT

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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