Harrison outdueled as Texas falls in Seattle

Harrison outdueled as Texas falls in Seattle

Harrison outdueled as Texas falls in Seattle
SEATTLE -- Matt Harrison did not turn in his usual dominating effort against the Mariners, but he still puzzled hitters when it mattered most on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Rangers, that wasn't enough.

An offense that was unable to produce a run spelled trouble for the Rangers, who squandered plenty of chances to back yet another shut-down effort by Harrison against Seattle. With the A's losing earlier in the day, the Rangers failed to build their American League West lead with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Mariners.

"Pressing? No, we're not pressing," said manager Ron Washington of his team, which has dropped consecutive games to the last-place Mariners. "When you face good pitching like the Mariners got, it just comes down to what I said, execution. You execute, you got a chance. We didn't execute tonight."

Harrison entered the contest with unreal numbers against the Mariners. In 17 games (13 starts), he had compiled a 10-1 record and 2.14 ERA vs. Seattle. With a 4-0 record and 1.07 ERA against the Mariners this season, he was aiming to be the first pitcher to beat them five times in a season. The only Rangers pitcher to defeat an opponent five times in a season was Fergie Jenkins, who did it twice.

Harrison did allow seven hits and four walks in eight innings, but the only run the left-hander allowed came on a home run by Michael Saunders in the second. He responded from the solo shot to right field by retiring the next five batters, including four by strikeout.

"Saunders' pitch, I didn't really make a mistake," Harrison said. "It was where I wanted to be, but got extension on it, got out there and got it. It's not the only mistake I made, it's the only one that cost me."

Harrison's biggest jam came in the fourth, when a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. He was able to get the next three in order, though, to escape the threat unscathed. In the eighth, he even talked Washington into leaving him in the game to face Justin Smoak, who was 2-for-2 with a walk at that point. He would end up retiring the former Texas first baseman on a popup to second base.

But without any run support, Harrison couldn't extend his career-high wins total to 18.

The loss snaps Harrison's streak of nine consecutive outings with a win against the Mariners. Dave Stewart (14) and Pedro Martinez (12) are the only other pitchers to have streaks that long against Seattle.

"He has nothing to hold his head down about," Washington said. "He did what he had to do. He gave up a run and we couldn't put another run on the board to make a difference, or put two runs on the board to make a difference.

"Just wait and work and be ready for the next one. I guess you can say he got outpitched, and he pitched well."

Harrison's counterpart who shut down the Mariners was former Rangers first-round Draft pick Blake Beavan. The Rangers had plenty of opportunities against Beavan, but the big righty seemed to get stronger with runners on base. The Rangers did not go down in order until the seventh, as their leadoff hitter reached safely in the first three innings.

But Beavan induced two double plays, stranded a runner at third and got help from his defense when the Mariners threw Nelson Cruz out at home by a wide margin when he tried to score from first on a fourth-inning double by David Murphy.

Texas finally chased Beavan with a single and walk to begin the eighth, but reliever Josh Kinney came on to get three consecutive outs and end the rally.

Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen then turned in a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve Beavan's 10th win of the season and third of his career against the Rangers.

"I'm from there, I got traded by them, it means a lot to beat those guys," said Beavan, who makes his offseason home about 30 minutes from Rangers Ballpark. "That's the best-hitting team in baseball right there, hands down. Every time you watch those guys, whether against us or somebody else, they're putting up runs left and right."

The Rangers have lost back-to-back games now for the first time since they dropped three straight from Aug. 13-15, ending a club-record streak of 34 games without consecutive losses.

"We're usually pretty good at getting two-out hits. Didn't happen tonight," Michael Young said. "That's something we feel is a big strength of our offensive game, is being versatile enough to do little things when called upon to do it. But tonight we didn't do it."

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.