The Mariners sent Michael Pineda, their rookie right-hander, to the mound and got all they had hoped for from the young horse.
Unfortunately, as has become all too common, they didn't get what they wanted from their offense.
Pineda, 22, looked sharp early, sitting in the mid-90's with his fastball, occasionally reaching 97.
In the first inning, it almost looked too easy for Pineda as he retired Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton in order with Kinsler and Hamilton going down via strikeout.
Things got a little dicey in the second as the Rangers got on the board with Nelson Cruz scoring on a Mitch Moreland triple that center fielder Michael Saunders misjudged. Saunders scaled the wall preparing to snare a home run ball back, only to see the ball ping off the wall as he twisted and turned.
The damage was limited to that one run, though, as Pineda kept the Mariners stagnant offense in the game as he cruised through the fifth inning with his pitch count only reaching 59 pitches.
In the sixth inning, Pineda started to run out of gas despite the low pitch count. He began to miss spots by wide margins, leaving balls up with catcher Miguel Olivo spotting his glove low.
In that frame, Kinsler lead off with a single to left that grazed the top of a jumping Jack Wilson's glove. After Elvis Andrus moved Kinsler over to second with a sacrifice bunt, Hamilton drove him in with a double. Two batters later, Michael Young drove a double of his own to score Hamilton to push the score to 3-0.
The bleeding finally stopped after a Nelson Cruz flyout that would end up being Pineda's final pitch of the night.
Rangers starter Alexi Ogando also exited the game after six innings due to a blister on his pitching hand, which opened the door for a potential Mariners comeback.
With former Mariner Mark Lowe on the mound for Texas, the Mariners were finally able to get something going offensively in the seventh inning. Miguel Olivo and Adam Kennedy reached base, followed by back-to-back RBI singles from Jack Wilson and Michael Saunders that put the Mariners in position to get Pineda off the hook.
Ichiro reached base on an error by Kinsler at second base, loading the bases with one out. However, a sharp lineout by Chone Figgins and a flyout by Milton Bradley ended the rally.
The final six batters of the game for the Mariners were retired in order, securing a tough loss for Pineda in his big league debut.
Pineda did face a heavily right-handed Rangers lineup he could succeed against. However, when the Texas bats struck, they struck for extra base hits with men on base.
If you're the Mariners, you have to be pleased with this performance, though. Five hits, three runs, four strikeouts and 85 pitches is something you'll take from a rookie starter.
While there are many out there who thought Pineda's secondary stuff needed more seasoning in the minors, the rookie looked like a grizzled veteran fighting for six mostly strong innings.
Michael Pineda clearly belongs.
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