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Jurado, Rangers stifle Seattle in 3-hit shutout

Rookie righty strikes out 3 over 6 sharp innings
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SEATTLE -- A simple tip from veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon came up big for Rangers rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado on Thursday night.

Colon told Jurado to start mixing a "four-seam" fastball in with his sinker. Jurado listened to his mentor and ended up throwing six scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory over the Mariners on Thursday night. Jurado combined with Matt Moore, Connor Sadzeck and closer Jose Leclerc on a three-hitter for the Rangers fifth shutout of the season.

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SEATTLE -- A simple tip from veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon came up big for Rangers rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado on Thursday night.

Colon told Jurado to start mixing a "four-seam" fastball in with his sinker. Jurado listened to his mentor and ended up throwing six scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory over the Mariners on Thursday night. Jurado combined with Matt Moore, Connor Sadzeck and closer Jose Leclerc on a three-hitter for the Rangers fifth shutout of the season.

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"Jurado was outstanding, the bullpen was great," Rangers manager Don Wakamatsu said. "Three-hit shutout, just can't say enough about that."

Video: TEX@SEA: Jurado retires Segura to strand a runner

The use of the four-seam fastball was significant for Jurado. A four-seam fastball is basically thrown straight as opposed to the sinking action of the "two-seam" sinker. The different look gives Jurado another pitch and keeps him from relying too heavily on the sinker.

"I used it more than I have in the past," Jurado said. "When my sinker is hitting the outside corner, I can use the four-seam on both sides of the plate. The most important thing is I had everything working. That's what was good about my night."

Jurado finished the night with 80 pitches and only 36 of them (45 percent) were sinkers. He threw 18 four-seam fastballs and the rest were either the slider or the changeup. Coming into the game, Jurado had thrown the sinker 66.7 percent of the time, the second-highest rate for that pitch among 170 pitchers with at least 500 pitches thrown.

Video: TEX@SEA: Wakamatsu on Jurado, bullpen in 2-0 win

Opponents were hitting .362 with a .543 slugging percentage against the sinker before Thursday's sterling performance against the Mariners. He allowed two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three.

"We'd seen him earlier and he certainly had a good sinking fastball," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We hit a lot of balls on the ground tonight. We really just didn't get into a lot of at-bats, didn't square 'em up. We didn't do anything all night."

This was Jurado's last outing of the season and he gave the Rangers something to think about over the winter as they mull their options for the rotation next year. He ended up 5-5 with a 5.93 ERA in eight starts and six relief appearances, but saved the best outing for the end.

"I thought he pitched a heck of a ballgame," Wakamatsu said. "Those are the things we're looking for to give us a stronger belief. We're not going to make that decision right now, but that's what we're looking for is to be able to get signs that say 'Hey, going into Spring Training, I remember that game he threw there."

Jurado wasn't the only young Rangers pitcher to shine. Sadzeck pitched a scoreless eighth and has not allowed an earned run over 9 1/3 innings since being called up from Triple-A. Leclerc closed it out in the ninth and has not allowed a run in his last 21 innings. In that stretch, he has allowed five hits and six walks while striking out 32.

Video: TEX@SEA: Leclerc strikes out Cruz to notch the save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ryan Rua got a rare start in center field and scored the Rangers first run after reaching on a one-out double in the seventh. It was his first extra-base hit at the Major League level since a home run on July 22. He has just three doubles in 135 Major League at-bats.

Video: TEX@SEA: Guzman's RBI single opens scoring in 7th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Shortstop Hanser Alberto took a hit away from Mike Zunino in the second when he reached up and snagged a line drive that had an exit velocity of 109.8 mph, according to Statcast™.

Video: TEX@SEA: Alberto leaps to snag Zunino's liner in 2nd

HE SAID IT
"It just nicked me in the head. I'll take the RBI." -- Catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa, on getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh

Video: TEX@SEA: Kiner-Falefa gets HBP, scoring Guzman in 7th

UP NEXT
Left-hander Martin Perez pitches against the Mariners at 9:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Safeco Field. Perez has allowed just four earned runs in his last 15 innings with opponents hitting just .196 off him. He started against the Mariners on Sunday and allowed one run over four innings. Adrian Beltre is expected to start at designated hitter with left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitching for the Mariners.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Ariel Jurado