ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Taijuan Walker is still working on honing his craft as a pitcher, and the 23-year-old is doing it in the major leagues.
Walker gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings in the Seattle Mariners’ 7-3 loss to Texas on Friday night. The Rangers’ Adrian Beltre homered, doubled and drove in five runs off Walker during the first three innings.
“He’s in developmental mode right now, and that’s hard to do at the big league level,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s having a hard time finding a secondary pitch that’s going to work. You’ve got to go back and forth in this league, or they’re going to get on the fastball.”
Walker (2-6) has six losses over his last seven starts. His fastball actually got better later in his outing, which also included a homer by Texas’ Jurickson Profar.
“The first three innings, just no intensity,” said Walker, whose most recent win came on April 25. “Kind of feeling my way through, I guess. I need to pump it in there like my last inning.”
Texas and Seattle, who play six times in 10 days, began the day tied for the division lead. The Rangers have won five of six overall.
Texas’ Yu Darvish (2-0) gave up three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one while throwing 88 pitches. Last week, the All-Star ace made his first start since August 2014 and Tommy John surgery, allowing one run and three hits over five innings to beat Pittsburgh.
“After the surgery, you’re not going to have a perfect day every time you go out there,” said Darvish. Who turned to curve balls that came in as slow as 65 mph. “It was one of those outings.”
Robinson Cano extended his on-base streak to 32 games, the longest active streak in the majors, with a sixth-inning double for Seattle. Cano said Darvish resembled the pitcher who was dominant in 2013-14.
“All his pitches move everywhere, and he has the velocity,” Cano said. “You’ve got to give him credit. To be able to get that surgery and go out and work and come back and be the same guy — that’s unbelievable.”
The Mariners have fallen behind 3-0 in the first inning of their past three games. On Thursday night in San Diego, they rallied from a 12-2 deficit to win 16-13 to record the largest comeback in team history. The team arrived in Texas around 4 a.m. Friday morning.
“You can blame it on anything,” Cano said. “You’re facing one of the best pitchers in the game.”
SEAGER STILL SCORCHING
Kyle Seager went 2 for 4 and is 13 for 20 in his last five games. He’s hitting .351 in 47 career games at Globe Life Park, .400 since April 30 and hasn’t missed one inning this season.
“He’s been unbelievably consistent — lefties, righties, runners in scoring position, hit home runs,” Servais said.
“Different series are always different,” Seager said. “This is definitely a ballpark that’s a good place to hit.”
The Mariners on Saturday night will try to avoid their first losing road series of the season. They’re 7-0-2. … Beltre was initially called safe on a tag play at the plate in the third inning, but Seattle challenged and successfully had the call overturned.
Mariners: SS Ketel Marte (sprained thumb) is scheduled to rejoin the team on Monday to begin a seven-game homestand.
Rangers: RF Shin-Soo Choo (hamstring strain) began a rehab assignment on Friday night with Double-A Frisco and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Mariners: RHP Nathan Karns (5-1) has four wins and three no-decisions over his last seven starts with a 2.76 ERA. In his only previous career start in Arlington, he received a no-decision last August while with Tampa Bay.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (3-4) has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts and went into Friday having induced a major league-leading 17 groundball double plays.
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