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Mariners push four runs across in the first

ARLINGTON -- A game that was supposed to be all about Yu Darvish's pitching debut instead turned into a reminder of the Rangers' potent offense as Texas topped the Mariners, 11-5, on Monday at Rangers Ballpark.

Seattle jumped on Darvish for four runs in the first inning and had a 5-2 lead after two, but Hector Noesi couldn't hold that advantage and wound up with an early exit in his first start for the Mariners.

Third baseman Kyle Seager went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Seattle, raising his batting average to .438 through five games. But the Mariners (3-2) didn't score after the second inning in the opener of the four-game set.

"You put up five in the first two innings and nothing after that, that's not really stepping on anyone's neck," said Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan. "That's not the killer instinct."

Darvish wound up with the win despite giving up five runs and eight hits along with four walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch in 5 2/3 innings.

"It was pretty much a battle all night to get outs," Darvish said. "I just know what my offense can do if I could string some zeroes together."

The Mariners let him off the hook when Noesi, acquired from the Yankees in the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade, gave up seven runs on six hits and three walks before getting lifted with no outs in the fourth.

"I think both starting pitchers tonight were feeling it a little bit, being their first starts of the year," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge.

A three-run home run by Nelson Cruz in the third and a two-run shot by Mitch Moreland in the fourth spelled doom for Noesi, who started two games as a rookie last year while working mostly out of the bullpen for the Yankees.

Though Noesi gave up the two long balls, the Mariners defense didn't help much, either. The young right-hander got a double-play ball by Adrian Beltre in the first, but Ryan's relay throw pulled Justin Smoak off the bag and kept the inning alive. Michael Young and Cruz then followed with RBI singles up the middle.

Wedge said that was "a play Ryan has to make," and the shortstop didn't disagree.

"I've made that throw a million times, but I just pulled it," Ryan said.

Giving the loaded Rangers lineup extra opportunities is not a recipe for success.

"Look at their nine-hole guy. Look at their eight-hole. It's just relentless," Ryan said. "They have guys on the bench that could do it. You can't give anybody outs at this level, but especially these guys. Every single guy can hit the ball out of the yard and they don't seem to foul those pitches off either. They find the barrel."

Another Ryan play in the third seemed to cost Noesi again when the shortstop went home to get Josh Hamilton in a close play at the plate with one out and runners on first and third. Hamilton was out on a close call, but a double play again would have got Noesi out of the inning unscathed.

Instead, Cruz followed with his three-run homer to left field that tied the game, 5-5.

But Wedge didn't have an issue with that play, saying the ball was a slow roller and the double play was no guarantee, so the smart choice was to go home, as Ryan did. But Noesi left an inside fastball over the plate and Cruz crushed it for the first of four Rangers home runs on the night.

After Moreland's two-run shot in the fourth, rookie Erasmo Ramirez made his Major League debut in relief of Noesi and squelched the runaway.

Ramirez, 21, allowed only one run on a solo homer by Hamilton in three innings of two-hit ball. George Sherrill gave up a three-run homer to Ian Kinsler in the eighth, the Rangers' final long ball of the game.

The Mariners' four runs in the first inning all came with the bases loaded -- a two-run single by Seager, an RBI single by Miguel Olivo and a walk by Munenori Kawasaki -- and the sacks were still full when Darvish got the final two outs.

The Mariners added another run in the second on doubles by Ichiro Suzuki and Seager, but Darvish settled in and got into the sixth for the win.

"We got ahead in the count and forced [Darvish] to come to us a little bit in the beginning, so we were able to be aggressive in that regard," said Seager. "I think we took some good swings on him in the later innings, too. We had runners on. He made some pitches to get out of innings, but we kept some pressure on. We just needed that one big hit at the end."

Ichiro went 3-for-4 with a double against Darvish in his first game against his countryman. Kawasaki, who'd faced Darvish frequently in Japan over the past five years, went 1-for-2 with a walk before Darvish was lifted.

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