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ARLINGTON -- Monday's game had the makings of a storybook ending for the Rangers. Instead, Texas' first game of September was a continuation of a poor August with pitching that was anything but storybook.
Taylor Teagarden, who had just been added to the Rangers' expanded roster earlier in the day, entered the game off the bench and belted a three-run home run to give the Rangers a two-run lead over the Mariners. But Rangers pitching rendered Teagarden's home run meaningless in a 12-6 loss at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Adrian Beltre epitomized how much Rangers pitchers struggled, going 5-for-6 and hitting for the cycle. The pitching woes began early, as Matt Harrison allowed 10 hits and five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
Harrison got ahead of hitters but couldn't put them away. Such was the case when Harrison got ahead 0-and-2 on Beltre in the second inning before serving up a home run that got the Seattle offense rolling.
"When I did get ahead tonight, I made some mistakes," Harrison said. "I didn't get one up and in on Beltre on his home run. I got it in, but not up like I wanted. There was another time the same thing happened against Ichiro [Suzuki], and there were a couple more times after that. Every time I made a mistake like that, they made me pay; they were hitting so well tonight."
The Rangers went from trailing, 4-1, to leading, 6-4, while Harrison was on the mound, but quickly reverted to trailing, 9-6, in the seventh inning. It only got worse from there.
Teagarden appeared to have given the Rangers the lift they needed, just moments after he had been preparing to get some work by warming up pitchers in the bullpen.
"It was crazy," Teagarden said. "I was headed to the bullpen, and while I was getting ready to head out there the guys were screaming for me, so I ran down there and strapped [the gear] on."
Teagarden entered Monday's game in the top of the fifth after Jarrod Saltalamacchia suffered an elbow injury while making a throw to first base. Saltalamacchia's injury was described as elbow soreness, and he will have an MRI on Tuesday.
"He said it felt like it was killing him," manager Ron Washington said.
Josh Hamilton had already homered to lead off the fifth inning, giving him home runs in back-to-back games for the sixth time this season, and another run had scored when Teagarden stepped to the plate with two men on. He put the Rangers ahead by two with a three-run home run to left-center field to cap a five-run inning.
Teagarden's two Major League hits thus far have been home runs. His last one was a game-winning home run on July 20 against the Twins.
"I was going to take the first pitch no matter what," Teagarden said. "And I told myself, if he threw anything away, I'd swing at it and he did."
Teagarden's blast had the feel of a home run that would prove to be the difference-maker for the Rangers. But other than the fifth inning, the Rangers scored just one run on eight hits. Washington preferred to focus on his club's overall numbers from the night.
"It got us the lead," Washington said of Teagarden's blast. "We had 12 hits and six runs; they just happened to score 12."
Harrison faced five hitters in the sixth inning and allowed three hits -- the last of which cut the Rangers' lead to one -- before getting pulled.
"Matt did a good job of keeping us in the ballgame," Washington said. "They just kept hitting him hard."
The one positive for Harrison was that he didn't walk a batter, throwing 50 of 74 pitches for strikes, but there were probably times he could have given the Mariners fewer enticing pitches.
"I feel like I threw strikes for the most part," Harrison said. "I made some mistakes, though, and they hit them. I'll just have to take it as something to build on."
Kameron Loe entered in the sixth to get the Rangers out of the inning with a 6-5 lead, but he was not brought out for the seventh. Instead, Washington turned to Luis Mendoza, who pitched two shutout innings over the weekend.
This time around, though, Mendoza fell flat, allowing four runs on five hits -- including a double to Beltre -- and an intentional walk.
Josh Rupe entered when Mendoza could complete only a third of an inning and allowed three more runs on five more hits as the Mariners compiled 20 on the night. Beltre completed his cycle with a triple in the eighth inning.
It was the 46th time the Rangers blew a lead this season.
Washington was left after the game to wonder if he'd been better off leaving Loe in the game, but his gut told him to go with Mendoza.
"I thought Mendoza matched up better with the guys they had coming up," Washington said.