Walker has solid start for Mariners in 3-1 win at Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Taijuan Walker thought he was done when he saw Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon walking toward the mound.
Instead, McClendon was informing the young right-hander that he was facing his last hitter. Walker then needed only one more pitch to end the seventh inning with two runners stranded in the Mariners' 3-1 victory over Texas on Monday night.
''Those type of moments can build character in a pitcher,'' McClendon said. ''The only way you can learn to deal with that type of adversity and that type of situation is to go through it. And he did a nice job.''
Walker (1-2) allowed only an unearned run in seven solid innings. Nelson Cruz had an RBI single against his former team and Seattle won the rain-delayed series opener.
''I was hoping he wasn't going to pull me. ... But he gave me a shot to get out of there,'' said Walker, who got Robinson Chirinos on an inning-ending fly ball. ''That was big. I knew it was my last hitter, so I wanted to give him everything I've got and he swung at the first pitch.''
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
After rain delayed the start of the game for 55 minutes, Yovani Gallardo (2-3) walked the first two batters.
There was a fielder's choice grounder before Cruz put Seattle ahead to stay with his single through the right side of the infield. That was the majors-best 21st RBI for Cruz, who played in Texas from 2006-13.
Walker, who struck out five and walked one, had a 2-0 lead before throwing a pitch. Another run scored on shortstop Elvis Andrus' throwing error.
The Rangers, on the same day they reacquired 2010 AL MVP and five-time All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels, missed a chance to win consecutive games for the first time this season. Texas is the only AL team without consecutive victories.
Gallardo allowed three runs and three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. He threw 101 pitches, 35 in the first inning.
''The first two hitters, couldn't quite find the rhythm and strike zone,'' Texas manager Jeff Banister said. ''After the two walks, for me, he bounced back. We didn't handle the baseball the way we should. ... Had a chance to get a double play.''
The Rangers and Mariners both had their flights diverted late Sunday night because of severe storms that included some tornadoes in North Texas. Both teams had expected to arrive around midnight. But Seattle, coming from a game in Minnesota, was initially sent to San Antonio to wait out the weather. ''Worst flight ever. (hash)thankGoditsover'' Seattle outfielder Justin Ruggiano tweeted. The Rangers' flight from Los Angeles got diverted to Austin and didn't get into Dallas until about 4:30 a.m.
Texas scored in a strange fourth. Carlos Peguero had a leadoff walk, but had to avoid being hit by Prince Fielder's grounder before getting retired on the fielder's choice. Adrian Beltre followed with a single, but he was out after getting hit on the base path by the grounder by Mitch Moreland, who was credited with a single. Fielder was sent back to second base, but then scored on a throwing error by shortstop Brad Miller.
Mariners: Austin Jackson, who lives in North Texas, will likely be back in the starting lineup Tuesday. McClendon was giving Seattle's regular leadoff hitter a mental break, but put him in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning Monday. Jackson has played in all 19 games, starting 17.
Rangers: Left-hander Ross Detwiler (0-2, 10.95 ERA in his first three starts for Texas) gets a chance to show if that extra work with pitching coach Mike Maddux pays off. Detwiler last started April 19 at Seattle, which hit three homers and scored five times off him in 2 1-3 innings.