Minor can't escape 5th inning in loss to M's
Left-hander allows 3-run HR to Cano; Gonzales stymies Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-hander Mike Minor pitched out of trouble for most of his start against the Mariners on Saturday night, but he couldn't escape the fifth inning.
Minor allowed a three-run home run to Robinson Cano with two outs in the inning, and that proved to be the difference in the Rangers' 13-0 loss to the Mariners at Globe Life Park. He was replaced in the inning by Alex Claudio after walking the next batter, Nelson Cruz.
"I think I hit my spot, but I guess that's what he's looking for," Minor said. "Felt like I was battling all night though. Had guys on every inning."
Minor had been surging since the All-Star break, going 6-1 with a 2.72 ERA in nine starts. He was looking for his 13th win of the season, which would have matched a career high, but he had to pitch out of several jams and had success doing so.
The lefty allowed six hits and walked three in 4 2/3 innings, but the Mariners went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position before Cano's home run. That's an area where Minor has excelled all season, as opposing batters entered the day hitting .205 against him with runners in scoring position, including .171 (6-for-35) in his last nine starts.
"I thought his stuff was good," Rangers interim manager Don Wakamatsu said. "What hurt him more than anything was the pitch count, trying to get through five innings; he made the one mistake to Cano and that cost him.
"But he pitched out of some jams with some really good elevated fastballs. I thought his slider was good to both sides. His changeup, he made a couple of mistakes with his changeup, but his fastball was good."
The Rangers are planning on giving Minor one more start this season, and they want him to finish the year with the continued success he's had in his first full season in a big league rotation since 2014.
"This is kind of an outing where he didn't have his best command, but really from the All-Star break on, he's been awfully good," Wakamatsu said. "So, we'd like to finish on a positive note."
One of Minor's goals coming out of the break was to lower his ERA under 4.00, and he came close on Saturday, lowering to 4.02 before Cano's home run. But Minor's ERA ended up rising from 4.14 before his start to 4.18.
Still, Minor said he will look back on this season as a successful return to the rotation.
"After the season's over, I'll reflect and look back and see what I can improve on," Minor said. "But yeah, making every start, taking the ball every time they ask me to, is a success for me."
The Rangers mustered just one hit off Mariners starter Marco Gonzales, and three hits overall. Texas has lost seven of its last 10 games and is 7-12 in September.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rangers had a chance to narrow a five-run deficit in the seventh inning with one out and Isiah Kiner-Falefa at the plate and the bases loaded. Kiner-Falefa, however, grounded into an inning-ending double play against Seattle reliever Nick Vincent. He is batting .196 (13-for-66) in his last 26 games.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
First baseman Ronald Guzman turned a terrific double play with one out in the third inning. Guzman fielded a ball hit by Mitch Haniger and stepped onto first base before firing a throw to Elvis Andrus at second to retire Guillermo Heredia.
HE SAID IT
"I had the two outs with two strikes, and then the base hit and the walk and the home run. I might have gotten ahead of myself. I felt like the inning was already over. I felt like if I made a couple of good pitches there, inning's over. But then it turns out like that, so pretty frustrated with it, how that turned out." -- Minor, on the Mariners' three-run fifth inning
Third baseman Adrian Beltre is expected to be in the lineup for the Rangers' final home game of the season at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday against the Mariners at Globe Life Park. Beltre has not made a decision if he will return for 2019, so this could be his final game in Arlington. It will be his 1,093rd game with Texas since 2011, ninth most in club history. Left-hander Martin Perez will make his first start for the Rangers since Aug. 25 against Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc.