SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez won his fourth straight over the Rangers with eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory at Safeco Field on Thursday afternoon. The Rangers, with their second straight loss, finished 5-5 on their longest road trip of the season.
This was the only game played in the American League West on Thursday, so the Rangers are now 2 1/2 games behind the Astros for the division lead. They are one game ahead of the Twins and three ahead of the Angels for the second Wild Card spot.
Hernandez allowed three hits and four walks while striking out eight as the Mariners won for the seventh time in their last nine games. Hernandez is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts against the Rangers this season and his 17 wins overall are tied for the AL lead.
"Texas has a good lineup," Hernandez said. "You've got to keep the ball down. Everybody out there can hit a homer against you. You've got to keep the ball down and make good pitches."
Hernandez beat Rangers starter Derek Holland, who allowed five runs in seven innings. That's the most runs he has allowed in five starts since coming off the disabled list.
"I felt I did a good job until the last inning of attacking the zone ... and battling with Felix," Holland said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Trumbo in tune: Mariners left fielder Mark Trumbo continued his hot hitting with a two-run double in the first off Holland to give Seattle the early lead. Trumbo went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, during which he's batted .375 (18-for-48). After getting off to a slow start following his acquisition from the D-backs in early June, Trumbo has hit.318 (61-for-192) with 11 homers and 31 RBIs over his last 54 games, including 6-for-8 the last two days.
"He has the ability to carry a club for 10-12 days at a time and it's been nice to see," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "He's been a big plus for our offense, he along with [Kyle Seager] as they continue to roll."
Boomstick is back: After sitting out five games with a strained right quad, Nelson Cruz returned with a bang as he went 2-for-4 and clubbed his 40th home run, an opposite-field two-run shot off Holland to give Seattle a 5-0 lead in the seventh. Cruz matched his career high, set last year with the Orioles, and became the fourth player in Mariners history with 40-plus homers in a season -- joining Ken Griffey Jr. (6), Alex Rodriguez (3) and Jay Buhner (3) -- and first since A-Rod hit 41 in 2000.
"Jogging around the bases is the best way not to run too hard," said McClendon, who asked Cruz to take it easy on the basepaths in his first game in a week. More >
Wilson's hustle shows up: Rangers catcher Bobby Wilson's hustle paid off in the sixth inning. Trumbo had a popup fall in shallow center and he rounded first base too far looking for a double. Second baseman Rougned Odor, retrieving the ball after Will Venable missed a diving catch, fired to first base and the ball got past Mitch Moreland. But Wilson was backing up and he threw out Trumbo trying to go to second.
"That was a really good play by Bobby," Trumbo said. "When I looked up I didn't see anyone there, I just saw the ball and I said, 'I can easily make that.' Then I realized pretty quickly that it might work out the other way."
Moreland's double wasted: Moreland had the Rangers only extra-base hit off Hernandez, a double leading off the second. He was also one of only two runners in scoring position for the Rangers. More >
"Felix was on his game," Moreland said. "When he is like that, it's a tough day. Everything was working for him. It's one of those days where it's tough to be in the box when he pitches like that."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In his first season with Seattle, Cruz is batting .423 (22-for-52) with six homers and 12 RBIs against his former Rangers team.
REPLAY CONFIRMS DOUBLE PLAY
After Elvis Andrus led off the fifth inning with a walk, he was running on a 1-2 pitch to Joey Gallo. Hernandez struck out Gallo and Andrus was thrown out at second despite beating the throw with a headfirst slide because he came off the bag while the tag was being applied. The Rangers requested a review and the call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: The Rangers open a three-game series with Colby Lewis on the mound against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT Friday night in Arlington. Lewis is going for a career-high 15th win but is also trying to snap a personal three-game losing streak.
Mariners:Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 4.03) faces the Rockies on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. PT to open a three-game Interleague series at Safeco Field. Iwakuma is 5-1, 2.98 over his last seven starts, including his no-hitter. This will be his first time facing Colorado.