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SEA@TEX: Rangers score two runs on a throwing error

ARLINGTON -- Six months ago, the Rangers soared into their first World Series. They were at their hottest in the American League playoffs, winning a Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series and then obliterating the New York Yankees in five games in the AL Championship Series.

Six games into the new season, it's as if the Rangers have picked up right up where they left off.

All they did Wednesday afternoon was beat last year's AL Cy Young Award winner, Felix Hernandez, and the Seattle Mariners, 7-3, before 25,049 at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers did it with their starter, C.J. Wilson, pitching with "no energy," and the wizardry of Adrian Beltre at third base. Toss in Mitch Moreland's go-ahead double off Hernandez in the bottom of the seventh and two tack-on runs provided by the always-hot-in-April bat of right fielder Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the eighth, and the Rangers finished off a perfect homestand.

They are the first Major League team to start a season 6-0 since Kansas City began with a 9-0 record and San Francisco a 7-0 record in 2003. The Rangers can match their best start ever -- in 1996 -- with a win Friday at Baltimore in their road opener.

Basically, it's a strong start.

"That's it. 6-0," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "There's nothing really else to say."

Once again, the Rangers showed off their depth. Wilson has gone from No. 3 starter to the staff ace with Cliff Lee in Philadelphia, and he hasn't skipped a beat. Wilson lost a win late in the season opener against Boston -- the Rangers won 9-5 -- and he hung in there just long enough Wednesday to get his first victory.

He did it despite not feeling 100 percent and having "my worst bullpen [session] in two years." Wilson worked around six hits and two walks. He got a crucial double-play ball in the sixth, and then with two runners on in the seventh with the score tied at 3, he got Chone Figgins to bounce out to the mound.

"I didn't have any energy today," Wilson said. "I feel like I'm a little slow. The only thing I had exceptional was my sinker, at times, because the wind was blowing into me, so it was moving more. Other than that, it was very below-average stuff, I thought.

"I was going in there not even thinking about the hitters, I was just trying to get the ball in there."

The Rangers, who can run a different combination of hitters at opposing pitchers, had just enough offense against Hernandez.

Moreland and David Murphy, two of three left-handed hitters in the lineup against Hernandez, stirred up the winning rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Murphy led off the crucial inning with a single, and proceeded to steal second base. With Hernandez still in the game, Moreland ripped a double down the right-field line to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish.

Early on, the Rangers took advantage of two Jack Wilson errors in the second inning to take a 3-1 lead. Murphy and Yorvit Torrealba had one-out singles, and Moreland loaded the bases with a walk. Kinsler then hit a ground ball to shortstop, and second baseman Wilson dropped the throw from Brendan Ryan. Murphy scored and the bases remained loaded.

Elvis Andrus followed by hitting what looked like an inning-ending double-play ball, but Wilson again made an error, this time on his throw to first, allowing Torrealba to score to make it 3-1.

The Mariners bounced back against C.J. Wilson, who was able to avoid the big inning. Luis Rodriguez, in the game for Jack Wilson at shortstop, started the fifth with a double, and Ryan followed with a single to put runners at first and third. Michael Saunders then hit into fielder's choice on what should have been a double-play ball, but Andrus was too deliberate with his throw to first.

C.J. Wilson came back to get two groundouts to hold onto a 3-2 lead.

The Mariners tied the game at 3 after Milton Bradley started off the top of the sixth with a double and scored on a single to right by Jack Cust. C.J. Wilson got out of the inning with a double-play ball.

The Texas left-hander worked out of a two-out jam in the top of the seventh, after Adam Moore doubled and Ichiro Suzuki walked. Figgins grounded out to Wilson, who made an easy flip to first to end the inning.

Beltre killed any rally the Mariners hoped to start in the top of the eighth, hopping on a grounder down the third-base line hit by Bradley and one-hopping a throw over to Moreland, who made a nice scoop for the first out. Reliever Arthur Rhodes then finished off a 1-2-3 inning.

"[Moreland] made a better play than I did," Beltre said. "It was a tough hop. I threw a two-seamer low and he picked it very nice."

Cruz's two-run double in the bottom of the eighth put the game away for the Rangers. Cruz's hit was the kind of insurance-producing knock the Rangers came up with throughout the AL playoffs last year.

The Rangers are a confident team. They are deep, as long as they stay healthy. They played Wednesday with center fielder Julio Borbon and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli on the bench, two players who have played big roles in the 6-0 start.

The winning attitude from 2010 has carried over.

"It's definitely confidence," Kinsler said. "We proved to ourselves last year what type of team we are and what type of players we are. We gained experience and we gained confidence, so we should be better. We feel like we're a better team, and we're just going to try and prove ourselves." Comments