SEATTLE (AP) - The Seattle Mariners are just one game into the season's second half and already there's a measure of desperation.
The Mariners' 5-0 loss to the Texas Rangers Thursday night continued the team's pattern from the first half. They have now lost six straight and 10 of their last 14. They have fallen a season-high 8 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the AL West.
Rangers' lefty Derek Holland (8-4) dominated the Mariners, who have averaged just 1.5 runs during this losing streak. He tossed a perfect game for five innings, finishing with a 5-hit shutout.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge is having his patience tested.
``You're going to get fastballs to hit. The kid out there is throwing hard. You've got to be ready for it,' Wedge said. ``Until these guys understand that you've got to take some risks, get out there and square up the ball, make adjustments to what you are seeing from the opposing pitcher, we're going to continue to struggle.'
The closest the Mariners came to a hit over the first five innings was Ichiro Suzuki's slow-hit bouncer to second baseman Ian Kinsler in the fourth. Kinsler raced to his left and had time only to slap the ball with his glove to first baseman Mike Napoli to beat Suzuki by a half step.
Holland said his changeup was particularly effective against the Mariners but what kept him in his rhythm was his mental approach.
``That's the kind of mentality I have to have, I'm the best. I'm the king of this mountain. It's my mound, you have to beat me,' Holland said. ``I have to stay positive and focused and let them beat me. This game is very mental, that's for sure.'
Miguel Olivo had two of the Mariners hits off Holland, who tossed his fourth career complete game - all shutouts - his third this season and second straight. He went the route in his previous outing July 7 against Oakland, a 6-0 decision. He has thrown 18 straight scoreless innings.
Holland, who matched his career high for wins, retired the first 15 straight batters until walking Franklin Gutierrez on a 3-2 pitch to open the sixth. He then lost his no-hitter when the next batter, Chone Figgins - hitting just .183 - slashed a single to right.
Jason Vargas (6-7) went six innings for Seattle, allowing five runs, a season-high 12 hits. He allowed solo home runs to Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli.
``He threw the ball OK,' Wedge said. ``They are a good hitting club. They hit a couple good pitches and they hit a couple they should hit. He kept us in the game.
``We've got to do a better job fighting back and keeping the game closer than that, especially in the early and middle innings.'
Hamilton got it started in the first, hitting a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his 12th home run. Since May 23 when he came off the disabled list, Hamilton has a major league-leading 43 RBI.
``It was down and away, a good pitch,' Vargas said. ``I couldn't really ask for better. He's just a good hitter.'
Cruz hit a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall in the second for his 21st home run. Right fielder Suzuki appeared to have a chance of catching it, but hit his back on the wall to curtail his jump.
Cruz also came off the DL May 23 and has the second-most RBI (38) in the majors since then.
Michael Young knocked in his 60th run in the third, a two-out single to right scoring Elvis Andrus from second.
Napoli connected on his 13th home run, hitting a 1-0 pitch into the right-center bleachers in the fifth. Napoli has nine hits in his 23 at_bats (.391) since coming off the DL July 4.
Andrus added an RBI single later in the inning.
The Associated Press News Service
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