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TEX@SEA: Ichiro slaps a single to plate a pair

SEATTLE -- It was Fan Appreciation Night at Safeco Field on Saturday, and the 22,159 in attendance could certainly be appreciative of some rare fireworks at the plate courtesy of the home team.

But unfortunately for Seattle, the Rangers and their league-leading offense also had some fun with three home runs and 14 hits, as Texas evened the series with a back-and-forth 7-6 win.

"We had opportunities and we were right there, but we just couldn't get over the hump," manager Eric Wedge said.

Neftali Feliz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 27th save. Feliz has held Seattle to 0-for-42 with 18 strikeouts in his career.

Though the Mariners put up six runs and eight hits, they also struck out 13 times to bring their season total to 1,187, breaking their season strikeout record of 1,184, set last season.

Wedge said that many of the young players are seeing stuff like 100-mph pitches from a pitcher like Feliz that they have never seen before. He also mentioned some mental and physical fatigue at this time of the year, but added that he didn't want to make excuses.

"We are striking out a lot right now. Once these kids settle in, you'll see less of that," the first-year Seattle manager said. "You'll see more discipline, more walks. We'll make those starters work a little more -- it's all part of the process.

"What we want to make sure we do mentally is stay aggressive, and I want these kids to continue to get a better feel for their strike zone and what their strengths are in regard to their strike zone. That's where we need to keep getting better."

Yet the Mariners' bats were finding more wood than whiffs early on. Seattle jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second inning after Ichiro Suzuki slapped a two-out single up the middle that scored two. Kyle Seager then added to the lead after he ripped a double down the right-field line that scored Michael Saunders and Ichiro.

But then the Rangers enjoyed a home run derby in the third inning off Seattle starter Anthony Vasquez. Elvis Andrus led off with a homer to left field, and two pitches later, Josh Hamilton -- who finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs -- lifted a Vasquez offering into the right-field seats to bring Texas within 4-3.

That was the seventh time Texas has gone back-to-back this season and it wasn't even over yet. After Michael Young lined out to short, former Mariner Adrian Beltre crushed a 408-foot shot into the bullpen in left field that evened it up at 4.

"My mind-set out there in the third inning was just go out and attack, considering we got four runs in the second and had a three-run lead," Vasquez said. "The last thing I wanted to do was fall behind hitters, and they just ended up taking advantage of it."

Vasquez walked David Murphy to lead off the fourth and was pulled after that, giving up five runs in just three-plus innings. Reliever Jeff Gray then gave up a Hamilton single that scored a pair and put Texas on top. A Young sacrifice fly gave the Rangers a 7-4 lead.

"It was nice to get back on track," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Last night, [Blake] Beavan shut us down a little bit. So it was nice when they jumped out front for us to show what we're all about and come back and swing the bat, and we did that. Once we started doing that, we started swinging the bats."

Mike Carp added a homer of his own with a two-run blast in the fifth, but the Mariners' bats were shut down by the Rangers' bullpen after that.

Just one start after giving up two runs in six innings, Vasquez struggled on Saturday, giving up the three long balls in the third and seven hits total. The rookie fell to 1-4 and has given up 22 earned runs in just five starts. His ERA increased to 8.25.

Wedge thought Vasquez got away from his breaking ball in the third inning.

"His breaking ball is a good complementary pitch," Wedge said. "It's an up-and-down pitch in regard to eyesight and it has a different velocity. I think that he was throwing some pitches that were on the same plane, and that's where they got to him."

Texas starter Colby Lewis was not much better, giving up six runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. But behind the potent Texas offense, he improved to 13-10, setting a career high in wins.

With his RBI single in the second inning, Ichiro became the fifth player in team history to record at least 600 RBIs. He also finished 2-for-4 to pass Mickey Mantle and tie Pie Traynor for 110th on the all-time hits list with 2,416.

Shortstop Brendan Ryan left the game in the third inning after making an extension on a tough grounder in the first frame. He is day to day with a neck spasm. Comments