The first 17 games in which the Seattle Mariners faced Neftali Feliz, he was a relief pitcher - a closer - and in 16 innings they were 0-for-48 against the Texas right-hander.
Given that, their 1-0 loss to Feliz and the Rangers was something of a moral victory. Yes, they lost, but at least they managed four hits.
“He didn’t throw quite as hard tonight as when he was closing for them,” Kyle Seager said, “but he was still in the mid-to-high ‘90s and he mixed it up more than we expected.
“When you’re throwing the fastball like, a hitter has to look for it, and he threw a great changeup tonight. He threw me quite a few.”
Feliz went seven shutout innings, outpitching former Class A teammate Blake Beavan, who held the Texas offense to one second-inning run that shouldn't have scored.
Adrian Beltre led off the ining with a double, but Beavan fielded a comebacker from Michael Young and caught Beltre too far off second base.
Beavan fired to third baseman Seager, who ran Beltre back toward second and threw to shortstop Munenori Kawasaki. They tagged Beltre for the out, but it took another throw – which allowed Young to reach second base.
“Ideally, we get him before the runner advances to second,” Seager said.
Manager Eric Wedge said Seager gave the ball up too quickly on the first throw, giving Beltre room to maneuver. Had he run him toward second base hard, then thrown, a quick tag keeps Young at first base.
Was it a big play?
Young wound up scoring the only run of the game on an infield single.
Still, this was just the 10th 1-0 game in the history of a park opened in 1994, a hitters palace. Was it a matter of the Mariners hitters choking?
“Tonight, it was more about what the pitchers did than what the hitters didn’t do,” Wedge said.
Beavan, who grew up 20 minutes from the ball park in Irving, said he dreamed of pitching here as a d and - mangling his math - said he'd been to the ball park 'thousands of times.'
This time, he pitched brilliantly: 6 1/3 innings, one run, one walk, three strikeouts.
Feliz, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan shut Seattle out.