ARLINGTON -- Anthony Vasquez has struggled with the long ball in his brief run as a Mariners starter, but Texas added a new twist Friday by adding an inside-the-park home run to the rookie's troubles in a 5-3 loss at Rangers Ballpark.
Vasquez allowed three home runs for the second time in seven days against the Rangers, who clinched the American League West title with the win and the Angels' loss to the A's in Anaheim.
"I knew I had to keep the ball down and they're ready to hunt fastballs," the 25-year-old lefty said. "The biggest thing for me is I was up and I was behind. You can't do that with any team, really, especially these guys. They completely took advantage of that."
Vasquez, promoted from Triple-A Tacoma in late August when the Mariners decided to employ a six-man rotation, fell to 1-5 with an 8.89 ERA after allowing five runs and seven hits in his 3 1/3 innings.
He's surrendered 12 home runs over 27 1/3 innings in six starts. The San Antonio native has one final appearance scheduled for Wednesday in the season finale against the A's at Safeco Field, but manager Eric Wedge was noncommittal when asked if he'd still make that start given his struggles.
"We'll see," said Wedge. "We'll see where we are with everything."
Vasquez gave up a pair of early blasts to the Rangers, a 409-foot, two-run pop by Adrian Beltre in the second inning and a 433-foot shot by Josh Hamilton in the third.
But the one that knocked the young lefty out was a fourth-inning line drive by No. 9 hitter Craig Gentry that bounced between diving left fielder Mike Carp and center fielder Trayvon Robinson and rolled to the wall, allowing Gentry to sprint around the bases for his first career home run.
"I thought it was a good effort, we wanted the ball, but next time we'll use a little more communication," said Robinson, making just his 10th Major League start in center field. "That was a tough ball, a low line drive, and it's a big ballpark out here. So I would say we attacked the ball, we did what we were supposed to do, it just fell right between us. It looked like a movie on the replay."
It was more of a horror flick as far as Vasquez was concerned as he's now allowed six home runs to the Rangers in 6 1/3 innings over his past two outings.
"It's a product of him just not commanding the baseball," Wedge said. "That's his MO. That's what he's done in the Minor Leagues. We've seen small stretches of it up here, but we haven't seen him do it consistently and that's what he'll continue to have to work on."
The inside-the-park home run was the first allowed by Seattle since June 13, 2010, by the Padres' Tony Gwynn Jr. off Felix Hernandez at PETCO Park.
"Once I saw it get down I was excited to get something going," said Gentry, "but that was the last thing I expected coming around first."
Wedge said Robinson should have backed Carp up on the play instead of diving simultaneously.
"Carp is the guy that has a chance at that ball and Tray has to pull behind him," he said. "You can't both go for that ball right there."
Put it down as part of the learning process for a squad that started six rookies against a World Series team contending for another division title.
"We live and learn," Robinson said. "Just go out and do it again tomorrow. It's not going to change our aggressiveness in the outfield. If it's in the air, I'm going to try to catch it."
Rookie right-hander Josh Lueke stopped the bleeding with 2 2/3 innings of one-hit relief and Jamey Wright and Chance Ruffin threw scoreless frames as the Mariners' bullpen allowed just a pair of singles after Vasquez's departure.
The Mariners narrowed the gap with three runs in the sixth off Matt Harrison on an RBI single by Ichiro Suzuki followed by sacrifice flies by Dustin Ackley and Miguel Olivo, but could get no closer as they fell to 4-13 against their division rivals this season.
Neftali Feliz came in for his 30th save, mowing down the side in the ninth as the Mariners are now 0-for-48 against the Rangers' closer in 17 games.