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Must C Carom: Mariners turn odd 6-4-3 double play

ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Blake Beavan, getting his first start of the season in place of injured southpaw James Paxton, lasted just four innings before getting pulled by manager Lloyd McClendon as the Mariners dropped a 5-0 decision to the Rangers on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.

McClendon took the unusual step of going out to the mound to talk to Beavan one batter into the game after Shin-Soo Choo sent a drive deep to center field that Abraham Almonte ran down at the track.

The skipper appeared clearly displeased with something and said afterward that conversation was "between me and him."

Beavan said McClendon was asking him if he felt alright after mentioning before the game that he was having trouble getting loose, but the manager said he wasn't aware of any real arm issues with Beavan until after the fourth frame.

Beavan got out of the first inning unscathed, but then gave up back-to-back bombs to Prince Fielder and Kevin Kouzmanoff leading off the second. Those turned out to be the only runs allowed by the 6-foot-7 Texan, but McClendon replaced him with rookie reliever Dominic Leone to start the fifth.

Beavan allowed six hits with no walks and one strikeout in his 63-pitch outing.

"He did OK," McClendon said. "Obviously he elevated a couple pitches and he ended up with a stiff shoulder in the end. But his command was not as good as it should have been."

Beavan, who had thrown well in two starts with Triple-A Tacoma to start the season, indicated his arm just never felt right.

"I just didn't feel like I could get loose from the get-go," he said. "The first inning was a little rough. I just felt like I didn't have the same feel and command and definitely my velocity was way down. I just felt like my arm was real tired for some reason.

"I tried to work on that between innings, stretching it out and doing some things and battled to get through four innings. But I just knew something wasn't right. It was just tight in there and Lloyd said he was going to take me out. I was prepared to go out for the fifth and just try to be competitive, but they didn't want to take any chances."

The Mariners already received bad pitching news earlier in the evening when top prospect Taijuan Walker was scratched from a rehab start in Tacoma when he couldn't get his shoulder loose. There was some thought Walker might be ready to return by Sunday in Miami, though McClendon said before the game he was leaning toward Beavan for that start if things went well in his debut.

What now?

"I don't have those answers right now," McClendon said.

The Mariners' offense had no answers on this night either, getting shut out for the third time in the past five games as southpaw Robbie Ross threw 7 2/3 innings of five-hit ball.

The Mariners managed seven singles and two hit batters on the night, but never advanced past second base and were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position on a very quiet night in front of 26,628 fans.

"To me every year they've always had good hitters, guys who can swing it and make you feel uncomfortable," Ross said. "So I was just in there trying to battle, get quick outs and stay on the attack."

Ross earned his first career win as a starter, recording 16 ground-ball outs and needing just 90 pitches to get two outs into the eighth before Texas manager Ron Washington went to his bullpen with a 2-0 lead.

"We didn't do too good," McClendon said. "His cutter was working pretty good. We probably went outside the zone a little bit. This was the first night where I was probably a little disappointed with our approach. I thought we should have done better."

So the Mariners helped Ross out?

"He did OK," McClendon said, "but I don't think that was a Cy Young performance, if that's what you're asking."

Texas broke things open with three more runs off reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in the eighth on a two-RBI double by Kouzmanoff, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles, and a run-scoring single by Mitch Moreland.

Leone, a 22-year-old right-hander promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on April 4, threw two scoreless innings of relief allowing just one hit. Leone has yet to allow a run in 6 1/3 innings over his first four Major League appearances.

Designated hitter Corey Hart went 2-for-4 and Brad Miller reached twice when he was hit in the back by Ross, but Kyle Seager went 0-for-4 to snap a 15-game hitting streak in Arlington.

Miller, who went 0-for-2 on a strikeout and a popout to Ross on a bunt attempt, said he fully understood McClendon's frustration with the offensive approach in this one.

"I can only speak for myself, but I was right there with Mac," Miller said. "I was just not very competitive with my at-bats. This is the big leagues. If you give a pitcher like that easy outs, he'll cruise."

The Mariners fell to 7-6 on the season and are now 5-3 on the road, while the Rangers evened their record at 7-7.

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