ARLINGTON -- Not even Felix Hernandez could stop the runaway Rangers train Wednesday as Texas took advantage of three unearned runs on the way to a 7-3 victory and a series sweep of the Mariners.
Despite having their Cy Young Award-winning pitcher on the mound, Seattle lost its fourth straight and heads to Safeco Field for its home opener against Cleveland on Friday sporting a 2-4 record.
The Mariners also lost catcher Adam Moore to a right knee injury late in the game. Moore was helped off the field in the eighth while going after a pitch that bounced away from him behind the plate. Manager Eric Wedge said Moore would have an MRI test on Thursday. A visibly upset Moore was unavailable to reporters after the game.
Shortstop Jack Wilson was taken out of the contest in the third inning after committing a pair of errors that led to two unearned runs. Wedge said the veteran was "a little hazy" after a hard slide by the Rangers' Ian Kinsler, but Wilson said that came after he'd already thrown the ball away on his second error and he was replaced because he wasn't getting the job done at his new defensive position.
"Giving them three runs with the way Felix was pitching, they wanted somebody out there who had a little more time or experience," said Wilson, who converted to second base this spring after 10 years at shortstop. "Because [the errors were] unacceptable to have happen in a game we needed to win, and a game Felix is pitching.
"He was making the pitches to get out of jams and I wasn't getting it done. There's no excuse for it at that point. ... Today's whole loss is on that second inning and what I wasn't able to do."
The Rangers rolled to their sixth straight win behind lefty C.J. Wilson, pushing across the go-ahead run in the seventh -- Hernandez's final inning -- on a run-scoring double by No. 9 hitter Mitch Moreland.
Texas, which has outscored its opponents 42-20, blew the game open with three runs off Seattle relievers Chris Ray and Brandon League in the eighth.
For his part, Hernandez gave up six hits and four runs (two earned) with three walks and six strikeouts. Two of his four runs scored due to the pair of second-inning errors by Wilson. But Hernandez wasn't sharp at the start either, walking a pair of batters in the first after not walking anyone in his complete-game effort on Opening Day in Oakland.
"It was the wind first," Hernandez said of the breezy day at Rangers Ballpark. "I had to get my balance, but after that I felt pretty good. It was a good battle."
Hernandez steadied himself and got through six innings with a 3-3 tie before Texas forged into the lead with Moreland's double into the right-field corner in the seventh. The Rangers' bottom three hitters in their order got five of the six hits against Hernandez and scored all four runs he allowed.
"Their whole lineup is pretty good," said Hernandez, who is 2-4 with a 4.02 ERA in seven starts against Texas the past two seasons. "Their offense is unbelievable."
Given that, the Mariners needed to play sharp defense behind their ace. But Wilson dropped a throw from Chone Figgins on a bases-loaded force at second, leaving everyone safe as the Rangers tied the game at 1-1 in the second. The next batter, Elvis Andrus, hit an apparent double-play grounder to Brendan Ryan at short, but Wilson's relay throw went wide of first as two runs scored.
Wilson, taken out by a slide at the bag by Kinsler, was slow getting up and then replaced the next inning by Luis Rodriguez.
"He was just a little hazy after that play at second base there," Wedge said. "He was having trouble getting it back, so we had to take hm out."
As for Hernandez, now 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA?
"I thought Felix was good," said Wedge. "We made it difficult for him that one inning, then he got us deep into the ballgame. They grinded out some at-bats, but he did everything again to give us a chance to win the ballgame. But ultimately, we didn't play very well today."
Rodriguez, a utility infielder with one plate appearance in the first five games, doubled in his first at-bat in the fifth and scored on a fielder's choice by Michael Saunders to cut the lead to 3-2. The Mariners then tied the game on a double by Milton Bradley and an RBI single by Jack Cust in the sixth.
Seattle had runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh, but Figgins grounded back to C.J. Wilson to end that threat.
"We played 'em tight," Wedge said of the three-game set with the defending American League champs. "It got away from us at the end there today. We were in position to win every ballgame, but ultimately we were a hit short or a play short."
Former Mariner Adrian Beltre went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts against Hernandez.
"He was talking," Hernandez said of his longtime friend. "He said, 'Throw your fastball,' and he missed. He said, 'Wait till next game.' And I said, 'All right, I'll be ready.'"
"It's coming," Beltre said. "He got the best out of me today. He beat me today. Hopefully it will be my turn."
In the bigger picture, however, these three games all belonged to the Rangers, who have jumped to a quick lead in the AL West.