Rangers can't solve Nuno as bats fall flat
SEATTLE -- The Rangers made Mariners starter Vidal Nuno look like a Hall of Famer on Wednesday. This is what Randy Johnson used to do to the Rangers on more than one occasion -- only he threw a little harder and with a much sharper slider.
Nuno held the Rangers to just one hit over seven innings while striking out 10 in the Mariners' 6-0 victory on Wednesday night. A first-inning single by Prince Fielder was all that stood between the Rangers and a no-hitter.
"He was a little sneaky and we didn't get it," Fielder said.
The last Mariners left-hander to throw at least seven scoreless innings against the Rangers and strike out ten was Johnson on May 28, 1997.
It's only the 13th time in franchise that a left-hander has pitched at least seven scoreless innings against the Rangers and struck out at least 10 batters. Johnson has done it twice. But it has happened five times in 2015, twice by Chris Sale and once each by Dallas Keuchel and Scott Kazmir.
"No explanation," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "He was controlling the ball pretty well. He didn't give up any good pitches. It's the first time we faced him. We did a good job and he kept us off-balance. We couldn't create any opportunities."
Nuno, with a fastball that topped out at 91, did walk two batters and also hit two more. But that was it for the Rangers, who have been held to one hit in four games this season, tying the 2009 team for the most in club history.
"He seemed to have all his pitches in play," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He really had good secondary stuff and just enough fastball in the right location. He kept us honest and showed some moxie with different deliveries and different rhythms. He kept us off-balance and out of rhythm."
Nuno, acquired earlier this season from the D-backs, earned his first victory since July 27, 2014. His 20 consecutive winless starts was tied with Shelby Miller of the Braves for the longest active streak in the Majors.
"We had some guys try to make the adjustment," Banister said. "When we started looking for the soft stuff, he threw a couple of fastballs in on our hands. Out of the bullpen he has good numbers. As a starter he has struggled, but tonight our approach didn't work."