SEATTLE -- Mike Carp knew it was one of those days when he drove a ball deep to the opposite field in the eighth inning Sunday at Safeco Field, only to see Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton -- known more for his power than his glove -- go high up on the wall to rob him of a home run.
The Mariners never did dent home plate in this one, falling 3-0 despite another strong outing from Felix Hernandez as they endured their 14th shutout of the season.
"We're facing playoff teams right now," said Carp, one of four rookies in the Mariners' lineup for the series finale. "They're bringing their 'A' game every time they come out. Not to say we're not, but they've got their best guys going and doing everything they can to win, so they're going to be tough.
"I think it's a good experience for us. Obviously it's not very good to struggle, but at the same time, we'll remember that going into next year when we face these guys. We're not going to let them beat us like that."
Powered by Adrian Beltre's two-run blast -- his first against former teammate Hernandez -- the win keeps the Rangers' lead over the Angels at 4 1/2 games in the American League West.
"I was ahead in the count and tried to go in, but that was in the middle," Hernandez said of his battle with old friend Beltre. "And he just hit it ... hard. He always talks about that. And he got me."
The Mariners fell to 63-89 as they head off on their final seven-game road trip starting Monday with a makeup game in Cleveland.
Hernandez, making his final Safeco Field appearance of the year, gave up nine hits and three runs in seven innings, with one walk and five strikeouts.
With the Mariners on a six-man pitching rotation, he'll likely make his last start of the season Saturday with a Rangers rematch in Texas. Hernandez is now 0-3 with a 3.74 ERA in three starts against the Rangers this season and 10-15 with a 3.87 ERA in his career against the AL West rivals.
"They're dangerous," Hernandez said. "If you throw quality pitches, you can get them out. If you make a mistake, you're going to pay. That's what happened with Belly. I made a mistake and he hit the ball out of the ballpark."
Hernandez fell to 14-13 with a 3.32 ERA. He's won more than 14 games just once in his career with a 19-5 season in 2009. He went 14-7 in '07 and was 13-12 in last year's AL Cy Young campaign.
Texas tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Elvis Andrus doubled down the third-base line to score Ian Kinsler from first for a 3-0 lead.
Kinsler cranked a loud foul ball into the King's Court fan section down the left-field line in the third inning that was initially ruled a home run but quickly overturned once the umpires reviewed the video.
"I knew it was foul," Hernandez said. "I just said, 'C'mon.'"
Seattle's offense failed to mount much of a challenge to Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, who scattered six hits and struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. The Mariners did load the bases in the seventh with two outs, but reliever Koji Uehara came in to strike out Luis Rodriguez.
"Harrison was tough," Carp said. "He had some of the best stuff I've seen all year, in and out all game."
The Rangers were glad to get past Hernandez as they continued fighting for their division title.
"Felix is one of the best in the game," first baseman Michael Young said after an 0-for-5 day. "It's always a battle, it's always a challenge. If you go up against Felix, you have to have a well-pitched game and that's what Harrison did."
The Mariners struck out 14 times and now have hit double digits in eight of their past 10 games while surpassing their previous franchise record for a season with 1,201 whiffs with 10 games remaining. Manager Eric Wedge said the learning curve continues for his young offense.
"When you hold a team like that to three runs, you like to think you have a chance to win a ballgame," said Wedge. "That's something that's glaring with us and something we got to continue to improve upon.
"At some point in time we've got to get to the point where we are disciplined and can fight a little better with two strikes. But just as important, if not more important, is that we got to be in a better position and do a better job with hitters' counts early in the count."
The final two strikeouts were by Neftali Feliz, who garnered his 28th save. The Mariners are now 0-for-45 with 20 strikeouts against Feliz in 16 career outings.
In the Mariners' other milestone chase, Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-4 and sits at 173 hits, his bid for an 11th straight 200-hit season slipping away quickly as he'll need 27 hits in the final 10 games to break his tie with Pete Rose for most in a Major League career.