Rangers pitching, defense combine to stifle Seattle offense

Feliz notches 12th straight save vs. Mariners

Rangers pitching, defense combine to stifle Seattle offense

SEATTLE -- Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo was outstanding for six scoreless innings on Friday night. He ran into trouble in the seventh but the work of three relievers allowed the Rangers to reward Gallardo with a victory in his third start.

Shawn Tolleson and Tanner Scheppers both had to battle through some rough spots before Neftali Feliz closed out a 3-1 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field.

Gallardo, 2-1 with a 3.45 ERA, showed what he kept saying he was in Spring Training. He wasn't overpowering but mainly kept the ball down and induced one grounder after another. Gallardo recorded 18 outs and 14 were off of ground balls, including three double plays. He struck out three and retired one hitter on a fly to center.

"Get the guys up there ready to swing the bat," Gallardo said. "Once you show guys you're going to pound the strike zone and mix in your off-speed pitches. ... I made pitches and the guys behind me made some plays."

Gallardo took a 2-0 lead into the seventh but ran into trouble as Nelson Cruz singled for the third straight time and Kyle Seager walked. Manager Jeff Banister, with two left-handers coming up, brought in right-hander Tolleson.

Logan Morrison was the first hitter Tolleson faced and he smashed one to the right side that appeared to be headed for the outfield. But Adam Rosales made a terrific diving stop to his right and made a throw from his knees to get a force at second. Tolleson then struck out Dustin Ackley and Mike Zunino to end the inning.

"That was an awesome play by Rosales," Tolleson said. "Obviously they had momentum going there so I just wanted to slow it down. Get the momentum back. After Adam made that play, I just tried throwing it where they couldn't hit it."

Rosales' run-saving stop

Scheppers, with the Rangers still leading 2-0, took over in the eighth, making his first appearance after being activated off the disabled list. Brad Miller led off with a double and ended up scoring as Scheppers retired Austin Jackson and Seth Smith on fly balls to center. Robinson Cano kept the inning alive with a single to center.

That brought up Cruz, who came into the day having hit a home run in five straight games. Scheppers, after a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux, threw one breaking ball for a strike, two more that missed and then finally challenged Cruz with a 94-mph fastball. Cruz got underneath it and hit a high fly to left for the third out.

"I wanted to jump ahead but I made a couple of mistakes and fell behind," Scheppers said. "I've got to execute a little better. Cruz is one of the best hitters in the game. I've got to make sure I've got the pitch in the right spot. I executed my last pitch."

Feliz set down the side in order in the ninth, although right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo had to go to the wall and jump to snag Morrison's long fly ball for the second out. Feliz has now thrown 27 consecutive innings without giving up a run to the Mariners in his career. He is 12-for-12 in save chances against them.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.