- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Ten days after Seattle Mariners left-hander Vidal Nuno dominated the Texas Rangers at home in arguably the best start of his three-year major league career, he couldn’t come close to duplicating that performance on the road.

Nuno lasted 3 1-3 innings in the Rangers’ 10-1 win Saturday night. He allowed four earned runs, five hits and four walks.

Cole Hamels struck out 12 over seven innings, and Adrian Beltre collected three hits and three RBIs as the Rangers maintained their 2 1-2 game lead in the AL West.

On Sept. 9 in Seattle, Nuno (1-3) shut out the Rangers over seven innings on one hit and two walks while striking out 10. He was acquired June 3 in the trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks that also brought Mark Trumbo to Seattle.

“He’s usually sharper than that,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “His velocity was down a little bit. He’s used to bouncing back and forth (between starting and relief) and having seven or eight days off between starts; that didn’t affect him. He just didn’t have it.”

The Rangers took the lead for good in a two-run second inning in which Nuno allowed only one hit. He walked two, committed an error and threw a wild pitch.

“It’s part of baseball,” Nuno said. “They put the ball in play. They weren’t chasing the changeups like they were last time, and they were taking pitches. They made me work today.”

Each batter in Seattle’s starting lineup struck out at least once against Hamels (10-8). The only Mariner to collect more than one hit was Ketel Marte, who had two doubles and extended a career-high eight-game hitting streak.

Seattle’s only run came on a second-inning home run by Franklin Gutierrez, his 13th of the season.

“You have to be ready to swing the bat,” Gutierrez said. “This guy was pounding the zone. He was tough tonight. We were trying to do whatever we could to get on base, but he was making his pitches.”

Nuno and seven relievers combined to allow 14 hits and eight walks.

“I’m not disappointed,” McClendon said. “We’ve got some young kids trying to find their way. They are inexperienced and, at times, overmatched. It is what it is. We’ll deal with it and make them better.”

Despite the loss, the Mariners have already clinched the season series over Texas for the eighth straight season. Their 11-6 record in September is tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for second-best in the league, one-half game behind Texas.

A win on Saturday night would have put the Mariners at three games under .500, a level they haven’t seen since June 1.

AT HOME IN TEXAS

3B Kyle Seager, with one hit on Saturday, has a career batting average of .345 at the Rangers’ Globe Life Park. That’s the best among active players with at least 150 at-bats.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: Nelson Cruz was limited to DH duties for the ninth consecutive game because of a strained quadriceps muscle. McClendon said Cruz could return to right field during Seattle’s next series, at Kansas City.

Rangers: CF DeShields left the game in the seventh inning with a bruised left knee. The club called it a precautionary move.

UP NEXT

Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (17-9) is 4-0 against Texas this season with a 1.57 ERA. He’ll make his 47th career start against the Rangers, the most against any opponent.

Texas LHP Derek Holland (3-2) allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings last Tuesday against Houston. His last four outings against Seattle, dating to August 2013, have been quality starts.

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