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TEX@SEA: Harrison sharp through 7 2/3 solid innings

SEATTLE -- Mike Napoli spent five seasons with the Angels, a team known for strong starting pitching. But what Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba saw this weekend, and through what is now an 11-game winning streak, is unusually good.

"It's fun," Napoli said after the Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the Mariners with a 5-1 victory on Sunday. "The guys are making it easy on me and 'Torre' by executing pitches. It's pretty impressive what they are doing. These young guys are learning how to pitch and not just throw. We're getting a good scouting report and plan, and we're sticking with it."

Matt Harrison turned in the latest impressive performance by holding the Mariners to one run on five hits through 7 2/3 innings. Mark Lowe and Neftali Feliz finished up and the Rangers have now allowed just two runs in their past five games.

The Rangers may not have been able to set a club record for consecutive scoreless innings, but this is the fewest runs they have ever allowed in a five-game stretch. The staff that had a 39-inning scoreless streak in 1981 ended up allowing four runs in five games.

During their 11-game winning streak, the Rangers' pitchers own a 2.09 ERA, they have held opponents to a .194 batting average and posted 86 strikeouts against just 23 walks over 99 innings.

"These guys in the rotation that didn't realize their potential are realizing it now and understanding what they are capable of doing," said second baseman Ian Kinsler.

They were particularly hard on the Mariners this weekend. In 36 innings, the Mariners mustered just two runs on 20 hits. Seventeen were singles, and all three extra-base hits were doubles. Seattle drew seven walks and struck out 33 times.

The starting pitching was most impressive, but Feliz pitched in three games and retired six straight hitters to earn two saves. Feliz has still not given up a hit to the Mariners in his career. They are 0-for-33 with two walks and 13 strikeouts against him. But right now, the Mariners aren't hitting against anybody wearing a Rangers uniform.

"I mean, there were a few things I thought were a little bit better, but overall, a lot of the same," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "What makes it painful for everybody is the fact that it's just been so drastic offensively. I still go back to the fact that you are going to win games if you play good baseball. We've been playing pretty good baseball, just not been hitting at all, and that's why it sticks out so bad."

The Rangers didn't have a big weekend offensively, but they were able to score early and played excellent defense. They committed just one error in Seattle and have made just three during this 11-game win streak.

Mitch Moreland had the big blow on Sunday against Mariners starter Blake Beavan, the former Rangers No. 1 Draft pick who was making his third Major League start. Moreland, moved down to the No. 9 spot, gave Harrison all the runs he needed in the second inning with a three-run home run. It was both his first home run and RBI in 11 games, going back to June 28 in Houston, and it snapped an 0-for-14 skid.

"It was good ... I have been working on some stuff, and it's a sign of progress," Moreland said. "I'm still not where I want to be, but I was able to put us in the lead, and Harry was pitching great."

Harrison has been. He is now 5-3 with a 1.94 ERA in his past 10 starts. That leaves him 8-7 on the season with a 2.91 ERA -- the lowest in the Rangers' rotation.

"The biggest key is staying mentally focused with each batter," Harrison said. "When I get in trouble, I'm adjusting between batters, getting back my mental focus quickly and executing my pitches."

Harrison was also smart enough to realize Sunday that he had a great sinker working in the bullpen. He took that into the game and relied on it for most of the afternoon, getting the Mariners to hit one ground ball after another.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus did most of the work, and his nine assists -- including one while turning a first-inning double play -- was a single-game career high.

"I was able to throw the sinker when I wanted and get ground balls," Harrison said. "I had a lot of three-ball counts, but I was still able to come back, throw my sinker and get the outs."

That's the way the entire weekend went for the Rangers' staff. Comments