ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- John Rheinecker got his first-game
jitters out of the way in April. His second major league start went
a lot smoother.
Rheinecker allowed four hits in 8 1-3 innings and Mark Teixeira
hit a two-run homer to lead the Texas Rangers to a 2-0 victory over
Seattle on Monday night, the Mariners' fifth straight loss.Rheinecker (1-0), who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma
earlier Monday, struck out six, walked one and had 13 groundball
outs. The left-hander made his major league debut on April 22 -- two
runs and seven hits in four innings in a no-decision against Tampa
Bay -- and was 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in nine starts for Oklahoma."I was a lot more confident going out there this time,"
Rheinecker said. "I wasn't as nervous. I had a lot of confidence
in (catcher Rod) Barajas."Seattle, shut out for a major league-high seventh time this
season, got one runner as far as third base and that was in the
ninth inning.Rheinecker was acquired by the Rangers from the Oakland
Athletics on March 31 in a three-way trade that also brought
left-hander John Koronka to Texas from the Chicago Cubs.Detailing areas of improvement from his debut, Rheinecker said,
"Location, keeping the ball down and hitting spots. The minors
ain't like this. You have to have command of every pitch at all
times."The Mariners, hitting .220 against left-handers, could only
manage four singles against Rheinecker."He was outstanding," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
"He was down in the zone with all four pitches. Everything was
sinking."Rheinecker hit Ichiro Suzuki leading off the ninth, then gave up
a one-out single to Raul Ibanez and was lifted for Rick Bauer, who
got two outs for his first save of the season and second of his
career.Showalter wanted to give Rheinecker a shot at a complete game,
but the rookie had already thrown 110 pitches."I hoped he'd finish the game," Showalter said. "I asked
(pitching coach) Mark Connor what he thought and he said, 'That's a
tough one, Buck."Seattle is 5-14 in games started by opposing left-handers, and
manager Mike Hargrove has no easy solution for that disparity."With the hitters we have in our lineup, I'm baffled when
anybody shuts us down," Hargrove said. "There are some questions
that don't have answers."Seattle's Richie Sexson said Rheinecker had command of four
pitches."He had a sinker, slider, curve and change," Sexson said.
"We'd never seen him before. That might affect you on the first
at-bat, but after that you have an idea what he throws."Teixeira broke up the scoreless game in the sixth off starter
Jarrod Washburn (3-6) with his sixth homer, driving in Gary
Matthews Jr., who had singled with one out.Washburn allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, struck
out five and didn't issue a walk. He said he made one mistake,
leaving a changeup over the plate to Teixeira."I didn't think he hit it that good," Washburn said. "I
thought he hit it off the end of the bat but it kept carrying. I
don't remember ever seeing a shutout in this park. But the kid
pitched a great game. You don't want to be the one who gives in
first but tonight I did."Teixeira felt that as well as the rookie was pitching, his home
run would be enough offense for the Rangers."You had a feeling it was going to stand up because he was
pitching so well," Teixeira said. "John's stuff was so good,
you've got to think this is not going to be his last start or his
last win."The Rangers had three singles in the first five innings -- one
each by Matthews, Michael Young and Teixeira.
It was the Rangers' fourth shutout of the season, all in
May. ... Young ended an 0-for-14 slide with his first-inning
single. ... The Rangers optioned RHP Wes Littleton to Oklahoma. ...
Bauer was the closer rather than Akinori Otsuka because Otsuka had
pitched in three of the previous four games getting two saves and a
victory against Oakland. ... The game took exactly two hours, the
shortest for the Rangers this season. The previous shortest game
for Texas was 1:56 on Oct. 3, 1999, a 1-0 defeat to Anaheim. ...
Texas has won nine of 11 against Seattle. ... Seattle has lost four