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TEX@SEA: Pineda fans nine over seven frames

SEATTLE -- It's a new month for Michael Pineda. A new month and a new set of lessons, the latest courtesy of the Texas Rangers, who broke the impressive rookie's four-game winning streak Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.

Pineda, the American League Rookie of the Month for April, gave up his first two home runs and endured the first non-quality start of his big league career on a night in which he gave up four runs on seven hits over seven innings.

The big 22-year-old didn't exactly get roughed up by the Rangers, striking out nine and again displaying excellent command and a fastball touching 99 mph. But C.J. Wilson limited Seattle to a pair of runs on six hits in a complete-game effort, avoiding the long ball that spelled doom for Pineda.

"Michael threw the ball well again today," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "There were a couple fastballs that they got to and turned around, but he still pitched well and gave us a chance to win the ballgame.

"Every time Michael goes out there, he's going to get a little bit better, be a little bit wiser and be a little bit more experienced."

Pineda, who is learning English along with AL hitters this season, said he felt OK after a first inning in which he gave up two runs on three hits to the dangerous Rangers lineup.

"My first inning was a little trouble," he said. "[After that] I threw hard and was working on the mound. ... Maybe next time."

Surely there will be plenty more times for the young Mariners phenom, who now sits 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA after six starts.

"That guy was mowing us down," said Texas first baseman Chris Davis, whose homered in the seventh inning. "He pitched his tail off, but he made some mistakes and we were able to get to him. But he has as good of stuff as anybody I've faced."

The Mariners had won six of their last seven games and turned around a slow start with a 10-5 stretch in which they've been playing better baseball with an improving offense and solid pitching, but on this night, they could only manage a pair of sacrifice flies by Miguel Olivo as Wilson improved to 4-1.

Pineda had thrown five consecutive quality starts, the longest streak by a rookie starting his Major League career since Jered Weaver tossed nine in a row in 2006. The Mariners' rookie record for consecutive quality starts at any point in a season is eight by Dave Fleming (1992) and John Halama ('99).

Of Pineda's 97 pitches, 77 were strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 28 batters faced and didn't issue any walks. That sort of pin-point control is what makes the hard-throwing 6-foot-7, 260-pounder special and bodes well for his future.

But there will also be a learning curve for the young Dominican and the AL West rival Rangers are clearly part of that process. They're the only team to have beaten him, doing so twice in his six starts.

Texas, which topped Pineda, 3-2, in his Major League debut on April 5, jumped on him for two runs in a first inning in which he struck out three, but also gave up a run-scoring double to Adrian Beltre and an RBI single by David Murphy.

Rangers right fielder Mitch Moreland turned around a 95-mph fastball in the fifth inning, driving the belt-high pitch into the center-field stands for a 3-2 Texas lead. It was the first home run allowed by Pineda this season, leaving the Cubs' Matt Garza as the only pitcher with more than 20 innings of work who has yet to be taken deep.

Davis, another left-handed hitter, followed suit with a seventh-inning shot on an 0-and-2 fastball that left Pineda shaking his head on the mound in a rare show of frustration.

Olivo, flourishing in his newfound cleanup role, drove in Chone Figgins in the first and third innings with deep fly balls.

Figgins gave Olivo another shot in the fifth when he singled and stole second and third, but Olivo became Wilson's third strikeout victim that inning to leave Figgins standing 90 feet from home.

"We had a chance," Figgins said. "We had him on the ropes, but we just couldn't get the hit we needed. We hit some balls hard, Brendan [Ryan] hit a couple hard, Elvis [Andrus] made a couple plays and obviously he threw a good game. Both pitchers threw a good game."

Reliever Chris Ray, making his first appearance in 11 days, gave up a run in the eighth when Ian Kinsler walked, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch. Tom Wilhelmsen, also making his first showing since April 23, pitched a scoreless ninth with a walk.

But Pineda was again the storyline for the Mariners, even in his first defeat at Safeco Field.

"He's a great competitor," Wedge said. "He has a pretty good idea what he's trying to do and how to do it. He's not a guy who just goes out there and throws. He's a pitcher. As he continues to pitch, he'll get an even better feel for it." Comments