Cano stays hot, but Mariners lose to Rangers

Second baseman belts second homer of season, goes 11-for-22 on trip

Cano stays hot, but Mariners lose to Rangers

SEATTLE -- Robinson Cano wrapped up a red-hot road trip with a two-run home run Wednesday, but it wasn't quite enough to overcome a rough first inning for starter Chris Young as the Mariners dropped a 4-3 decision to the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

Cano went 2-for-4 with a home run and double to conclude a five-game trek during which he was 11-for-22 with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs, raising his batting average from .301 to .326.

"He's been pretty consistent all year, really," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "It's starting to warm up a little bit and he's starting to hit a little better."

Cano hit his second home run of the season -- both coming at Globe Life Park -- with a 406-foot bomb just over the fence in straightaway center that tied the game at 3 in the fourth inning.

Cano hadn't hit a home run since April 17 during Seattle's last trip to Texas, but he'd bounced balls high off the walls in three different games in the last week and now is tied for the team lead with 11 doubles.

"I hit it pretty good, but you never know. It was a line drive and it was windy," Cano said of his home run off Nick Tepesch. "Finally one went over."

Cano has reached base in a career-high 28 straight games, the longest current streak in the Majors, and his two RBIs put him into a tie for the team lead with Justin Smoak at 27.

Seattle couldn't quite overcome a difficult first by Young as the Rangers regained the lead on a fifth-inning homer by Shin-Soo Choo and then held on for just their second win in the past seven games.

Choo got an 0-2 slider up into the wind on the 82-degree afternoon and drove it into the visitor's bullpen in left field for the game winner.

"He's not really a power pitcher, but he can elevate a fastball and has good offspeed," said Choo, "so I tried to hit it hard."

"I thought it was a decent pitch," Young said. "Some places it's not [out], but it was here. That's part of the elements. If it was a better pitch, maybe he doesn't hit it out. I thought it was a pretty good pitch, but he's a very good hitter. You tip your hat, but unfortunately it cost us the game."

The Mariners finished their trip with a 2-3 record, putting them 22-23 overall heading into a season-long 11-game homestand that opens with a four-game series against the Astros starting Thursday night.

Seattle has gone 15-10 since snapping an eight-game skid on April 23 and is 4-5 in the season series with the Rangers (22-24).

Rookie center fielder James Jones continued providing a spark atop Seattle's lineup as he tripled and scored on Michael Saunders' single in the third before Cano's home run.

Jones extended his club record to 12 straight starts with a hit to open his career. He has an 11-game hitting streak, having had two late-inning appearances where he didn't get hits before he broke into the everyday lineup.

"I'm definitely happy about that, but I'm more focused on getting wins," said Jones, who is batting .314 after his 1-for-3 day. "If the hits equaled wins, I'd definitely be for it. But I'm more focused on the team."

The Rangers jumped on Young right out of the chute with three runs on four hits and a pair of walks in the first. The 6-foot-10 right-hander gave up a two-run home run to Elvis Andrus and an RBI single to Alex Rios, though he eventually worked out of a one-out bases-loaded jam without further damage.

A noted fly-ball pitcher, Young probably isn't well-suited for Arlington, though he pitched his first two seasons in the Majors for Texas. He said he couldn't find his rhythm in the first frame, but wasn't worried about the elements.

"Their pitcher pitched in the same stadium," he said. "Whether you give up 10 or one, you have to be better than their guy. That's what the game is about and I wasn't today."

Young needed 33 pitches to get through the first frame, but then settled in and wound up lasting 6 1/3 innings on 99 pitches, though he suffered his second straight loss and is now 3-2 with a 3.53 ERA.

The Dallas native had extra motivation, having spent two seasons with the Rangers before getting traded to San Diego in 2006. He hadn't pitched in the stadium since that first season with the Padres.

"It's been a long time," said Young. "I have a lot of good memories of this place. A lot has changed since then. It's a great place and I grew up as a Rangers fan, coming to this ballpark. But I wanted to come in here and win and I'm disappointed I didn't get that done."

The Mariners' last five losses have come by a combined six runs and they're hovering near .500 despite some key injuries, so the feeling is they're close as they head home now for their first extended stay.

"Considering everything that's happened, all in all, we've done OK," said McClendon. "Not great, but I like my club, I like where we are. I think we have room for improvement and I think we will improve."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.