Walker, Mariners bounce back against Rangers

Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) – Taijuan Walker got the Seattle Mariners
back in the win column with seven strong innings that carried the club to a
3-1 decision over Texas on the night the Rangers officially brought Josh
Hamilton back.

The Mariners halted a stretch of four losses in six games behind what was by
far Walker’s sharpest outing of the young season. The talented young right-
hander scattered six hits and walked none while limiting Texas’ struggling
offense to one unearned run.

Walker (1-2) had been rocked for 15 runs and walked 10 in 12 2/3 innings over
his previous three starts of 2015.

Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith supported Walker with RBI singles and Justin
Ruggiano scored a pair of runs for Seattle, which made the most of its five

The opener of this three-game series was overshadowed by the news that the
Rangers completed their trade with the Los Angeles Angels to bring back
Hamilton, who won the 2010 AL MVP with Texas and led the Rangers to the first
of back-to-back World Series appearances that season. The veteran outfielder
left the Rangers for the Angels as a free agent in 2013, only to endure a pair
of disappointing and injury-plagued seasons in Anaheim.

Hamilton, still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is expected to
report to extend spring training Tuesday at the Rangers’ complex in Arizona.

Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo (2-3) allowed just three hits and struck out
five over six innings in Monday’s game, but was hurt by three walks that the
Mariners turned into each of their runs.

Two of those free passes came to the game’s first two hitters, Ruggiano and
Smith. The latter was erased on a fielder’s choice grounder by Robinson Cano,
but Cruz shot a single through the right side to knock in a run and Cano
scored from second when Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus threw wildly on a
potential double-play ball off the bat of Kyle Seager.

Walker made the early lead stand up by continually pounding the strike zone
and cruising through the Texas lineup for most of the night. His only inning
of trouble came in the fourth, when the Rangers put two on with one out on a
walk and an Adrian Beltre single.

Walker appeared to get out of the jam when Andrus grounded to short with two
out, but Brad Miller threw the ball away to enable Prince Fielder to cross the
plate and bring the Rangers within 2-1.

Gallardo overcame his first-inning control problems, setting down 12 straight
after yielding a single to Rickie Weeks that followed Andrus’ error. He walked
Ruggiano again with two out in the fifth, however, and the outfielder promptly
stole second prior to Smith sending him home with a single up the middle.

Texas did threaten Walker again in the seventh, with Rougned Odor’s two-out
single sending the tying run to third before the Seattle starter induced a
harmless fly ball to Robinson Chirinos to keep it a two-run game.

Fernando Rodney worked around Andrus’ one-out single in the ninth to notch his
fifth save.

Game Notes

The start of the game was delayed for 55 minutes due to rain … The Rangers
have lost four of five and still haven’t won back-to-back games this season,
the only team other than Milwaukee without a winning streak this season …
Texas outfielder Shin-Soo Choo went 0-for-4 and has just one hit in his last
32 at-bats … Andrus and Odor each finished with two hits … All but one of
Seattle’s 19 games this season have been decided by three or less runs.