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5/14/13: Felix fans eight over six strong innings

Their once-heralded future of the franchise has been sent to the Minors, and they've lost seven in a row.

The Mariners have seen better days.

How quickly they must forget if they're to move on from their 20-28 start to the season and begin a fight back up the standings in the American League West.

"People have really short memories," said manager Eric Wedge. "It's two out of three in New York, and we hadn't won [a series] in New York since [2010]. That means something, all right. You go to Cleveland, and we get walked off three times. It's not that we played bad. We had a chance to win all three of those games. ...

"You've got to keep it all in perspective and understand that six days ago, everybody was flying high. To red flag it six days later, you're on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. ... You can't do that. You can't be on that road."

Moving on without catcher Jesus Montero, who mustered just three homers and a .208 batting average in 101 at-bats before being sent to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday, the Mariners will send their ace to the mound for Saturday's game against the Rangers.

Except their ace hasn't exactly served as a trump card against the Rangers.

With a 12-17 record and a 3.77 ERA over 35 career starts vs. Texas, Felix Hernandez is one loss away from tying longtime Angels pitcher Chuck Finley for most career losses against the Rangers. And his .414 winning percentage is the sixth-lowest among 39 pitchers with at least 25 career starts against them.

The Rangers, winners of 11 of their last 15, still embrace Hernandez as a challenge.

"Obviously he's the type of guy that always battles you," Adrian Beltre said. "Texas has always had good offensive teams -that has a lot to do with it. But we don't mind facing him because we like guys who can challenge our team."

Hernandez is coming off his first start in seven tries in which he allowed multiple runs.

For the Rangers, Derek Holland will take the hill with a 2-0 record and a 3.20 ERA in four May starts.

"I just have to go out there and continue to throw strikes," Holland said. "I feel I have been consistent, I've just thrown too many pitches. I've got to cut that back, get ahead of hitters and get the job done."

Mariners: Shaking up the roster
Jesus Sucre was promoted Friday to take over the backup-catching duties, with veteran Kelly Shoppach sliding into Montero's starting role, though Sucre got the nod in the series opener, going 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Montero will play first base and be a designated hitter in the Minors as he attempts to regain offensive form.

Shoppach, who is 1-for-11 with eight strikeouts against Holland, is hitting .229 on the season with a .719 OPS.

Infielder Carlos Triunfel was also added to the roster Friday, taking the spot of Robert Andino, who was designated for assignment after hitting just .185 this season. Triunfel, 23, hit .300 with four homers, two triples, 19 RBIs and 29 runs scored in 44 games for Tacoma.

"I think with Triunfel and the things he's done that he deserves the chance to be up here right in our eyes so we can watch this kid play," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said.

Rangers: Filling the two-hole
Since Ian Kinsler landed on the disabled list, David Murphy has filled in at the No. 2 spot in the order. The once-slumping Murphy is 5-for-18 with two home runs in five games as the second hitter and is batting .314 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 17 games.

"Just gets him involved in the game [quicker]," manager Ron Washington said. "He's not waiting around. When you're struggling and waiting around, it can weigh on your mind. Now we're getting him in the game quicker rather than him having to wait around for the second or third inning to get an at-bat."

Murphy is hitting .303 with two home runs and 11 RBIs vs. Hernandez, tied with Gary Matthews Jr. for most RBIs against him.

Worth noting
• Raul Ibanez has six homers and 15 RBIs over his last 10 games. He had at least one hit in 11 of his last 14 games, batting .348 (16-for-46) in that stretch.

• Justin Smoak has reached base safely in 16 of his last 17 starts dating back to April 29.

• Rangers infielder Mike Olt, who has been sidelined for a month because of blurred vision, has been cleared to resume baseball activities. Comments