Tough third puts Noesi on short end of gem

Tough third puts Noesi on short end of gem

Tough third puts Noesi on short end of gem
SEATTLE -- Hector Noesi pitched brilliantly in seven of the innings he was on the mound for the Mariners on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the right-hander, he struggled through what would prove to be a pivotal third inning.

The Rangers tagged Noesi for three two-out runs in the third to even the three-game series, 3-1, at Safeco Field and end the Mariners' win streak at four.

The Rangers made Noesi pay for pair of walks. Elvis Andrus gave the Rangers their first lead of the series, blasting a hanging curveball into the left-center-field gap for a two-run triple. Josh Hamilton followed with an RBI double to put the Rangers ahead, 3-1.

That 27-pitch third inning was the only blemish on an otherwise spectacular night from the 25-year-old, who set down 10 straight at one point and struck out a career-high seven batters in eight innings. Outside of the third frame, Noesi allowed just one hit and walked none.

"Just one bad pitch, he hung a breaking ball [to] Andrus, that was it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He was outstanding today, eight strong innings. Did a great job against that lineup. Didn't let that [pitch] get to him either -- which I think says a great deal about that young man -- and gave us every opportunity to win the ballgame."

"I thought he did a great job," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Noesi (2-5). "He had a good fastball down in the zone and moved the ball around. He just hung a pitch to Elvis and he didn't miss it."

As they did in the series opener, the Mariners jumped out to an early 1-0 lead Tuesday. This time, it was a two-out RBI single from Justin Smoak that got the job done. But the Mariners left the bases loaded, as Hamilton was able to track down a deep drive off the bat of Casper Wells in front of the left-center-field wall to end the first.

It was just the first of two great plays by Hamilton, who also robbed Alex Liddi of extra bases in the third when he crashed into the center-field wall to snag a line drive.

"I hit it pretty good, I thought it had a chance, thought it was going to go out," Liddi said. "I thought [Wells'] was going to go out too. [It's] just how it goes, we know -- this is our field -- this is like that, so we got to get used to it, make an adjustment."

It looked as if the Mariners might find some late-inning magic and bail out Noesi, as Liddi and Ichiro Suzuki hit back-to-back singles to lead off the eighth and chase Texas starter Matt Harrison (5-3). But Mike Adams came on in relief, got Jesus Montero to fly out to right and struck out the next two batters on pitches out of the zone.

"I felt like we got a little anxious with two strikes at the end, that's what really stuck out to me," Wedge said. "We want our guys up there ready to hit, and they are, but I felt like we just expanded a little bit too much with two strikes at the end."

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @jlieb24. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.