SEATTLE -- After choosing to push Felix Hernandez's next outing back to Friday in order to give the Mariners ace some extra rest before the September stretch run, fill-in starter Erasmo Ramirez got rocked by the Rangers in a 12-4 loss on Wednesday at Safeco Field.
Ramirez gave up 10 runs on nine hits with one walk and a hit batter in three-plus innings as Seattle allowed more than nine runs in a game for the first time this season.
"When it's like that, nobody is going to be happy," Ramirez said. "I'm not happy. I was trying to do good every time they called me and then go back down to [Triple-A] Tacoma and do my work. But I don't know. How they say, it's baseball. You don't know what's going to happen.
"I was feeling good, I was just missing my spots and maybe I used too many fastballs. I tried to get ahead with my fastball, but now the damage is already done."
The lopsided defeat snapped a string of 14 straight home games in which the Mariners had allowed three runs or fewer, which was the third-longest such streak by a Major League team since 1960.
The 12 runs also ended a Mariners record of 144 consecutive games without allowing 10 or more runs in a game, dating back to a 12-2 loss at St. Louis last September. That streak was the seventh longest in American League history and the longest since a 194-game stretch by the Yankees in 1975-76.
Seattle fell to 72-60, but it holds a half-game lead on Detroit for the second American League Wild Card spot after the Tigers lost to the Yankees, 8-4.
Manager Lloyd McClendon chose to bring Ramirez up from Tacoma for his sixth stint with the Mariners this season in part to give all of his starters two extra days of rest -- when combined with Thursday's off-day -- before the club plays 30 games in the final 31 days of the season.
But McClendon also felt Ramirez had earned another shot after his recent success at Tacoma, where he went 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA over his last 10 starts. But after a 1-2-3 first inning, the 24-year-old right-hander gave up four runs in each of the second and third frames and was replaced by Dominic Leone after surrendering two more hits leading off the fourth.
"I was encouraged after the first inning, but for some reason he started getting the ball up in the zone," said McClendon. "That's not a good thing against any team. He threw strikes; they just hit them. He threw bad strikes. He wasn't down in the zone. I think he was trying to be aggressive, he just didn't have it."
Ramirez, who was facing the Rangers for the third time this season, had held them scoreless for five innings in a June meeting, but Texas knew what to expect and took advantage.
"He's always filling the strike zone," said Rangers skipper Ron Washington, "and today we didn't miss some pitches."
Ramirez hasn't won since the second game of the season when he held the Angels to two runs in seven innings in Anaheim, as he's now 1-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 14 starts.
Two bases-loaded hits were the big blows by Texas, with catcher Tomas Telis driving in three runs with a double in the second on a ball that popped out of right fielder Logan Morrison's glove as he collided with the wall. Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor then applied the crusher in the third with a grand slam to right field.
Morrison was kicking himself for not hanging on to Telis' drive.
"I squeezed it, but the wall popped it out of my glove," Morrison said. "That kind of sums up the day, I guess. I make that play and no runs score, we see what happens. I don't make that play and three runs scored and it's a different game. And, obviously, from there it got worse. That's a play I need to make."
McClendon was more forgiving and noted that Morrison, who is primarily a first baseman, came back and made a nice diving catch to rob Jim Adduci in the seventh.
"That was a very difficult play," McClendon said of the wall banger. "You're trying to catch and avoid the wall. I'm not sure if Endy Chavez would have had that or anybody else. That's just a tough play. He gave a great effort, then he came back and made a great play on the dive. The thing I always say on those, the mistake was made at 60-feet, six-inches -- not 400 feet away."
Catcher Mike Zunino provided the Mariners' first run against right-hander Colby Lewis with a solo blast in the second inning. Zunino's 19th home run of the year ties him with with Miguel Olivo for the club record for a catcher, set in 2011.
Kyle Seager reclaimed the team lead with his 20th home run in the bottom of the ninth. Kendrys Morales added a two-run double in the sixth, but that was all the damage done against Lewis, who improved to 9-11 with the complete-game victory.
McClendon wasn't about to second-guess his decision to start Ramirez, taking the longer-term view of setting up the rest of his rotation for the final-month push.
"It was an unfortunate loss, but it was the right thing to do," he said. "That game is over with. We got our butts kicked. That happens. It hasn't happened very often to us this year. We've just been that good with our pitching."
"We just have to flush it," said left fielder Dustin Ackley. "We know what our pitching is going to do the rest of the way out. Today wasn't a reflection of what we've done all year on the mound, and I think Friday will be a different story."