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TB@TEX: Tepesch delivers strong outing in MLB debut

It's not often that many starting pitchers look forward to facing the Rangers deep in the heart of Texas.

However, after Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer got his first Major League win against the club in his last outing, he's ready for a second go-round against Texas in Arlington on Saturday.

"I think it helps," Maurer said of facing Texas again so soon. "I'll just go out there and do the same thing. I don't have to tweak anything. Just go out there and make pitches."

After two rough outings, in which he combined to give up 12 runs on 15 hits in 6 2/3 innings, the 22-year-old rookie allowed just three runs, two earned, on five hits over six innings against the Rangers.

"It feels better to have a win under my belt," Maurer said. "Slow and steady. It's a long season and it's going to take a little bit, but I feel better."

Meanwhile, fellow rookie Nick Tepesch takes the hill for the Rangers in his third Major League start.

He'll face the Mariners and Maurer for a second straight time, allowing four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings his last time out.

The Rangers were able to manufacture enough offense to give Tepesch a 3-2 lead through five innings on Sunday, but the Mariners scored two off him in the sixth and Tepesch took his first loss in his second Major League start.

"The Mariners battled him, they did a good job of putting the ball in play and they found some holes," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after the start. "You've got to give them credit for swinging the bat at the right time. The bottom line is he kept us in the game and gave us a chance. We just didn't get the hit that would have made a difference."

Mariners: Gutierrez out of starting lineup
• Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez wasn't in the Mariners' starting lineup for the fifth time in the past seven days for Friday's game against the Rangers.

Dealing with sore legs that have hampered him since Spring Training, Gutierrez started nine of the Mariners' first 11 games and came off the bench in the other two. However, he's been limited to just two starts and one late-inning relief appearance in seven games since April 12.

"We're still trying to help him with his lower half," manager Eric Wedge said before Friday's series opener. "I think it stems from his hips, where he gets a little out of line and that's what affects his legs. He didn't feel very good yesterday. He feels better today, so we'll see how his [pregame] work goes out here and go from there."

Rangers: Harrison sidelined until second half
• Left-hander Matt Harrison, the Rangers most durable and winningest pitcher over the past two years, will be out until the second half of the season as he undergoes lower-back surgery to repair a herniated disk.

Harrison has been on the disabled list since April 7 after losing a pair of starts, the first on Opening Day. He posted an 8.44 ERA in 10 2/3 innings.

"I'm definitely frustrated because I'm not out there doing what I love to do on an everyday basis," Harrison said. "I thought I could make adjustments to pitch through it, but it just wasn't working. The biggest thing is the weakness in my leg. ... The release point was inconsistent every pitch and I couldn't find a way to make it consistent, so I'm not doing myself any favors or the team any favors if I keep trying to pitch through it. So we might as well get it right."

Harrison could return sometime in mid-to-late July if his surgery and rehab go well. Dr. Andrew Dossett will perform the surgery Tuesday.

Worth Noting
• Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders took batting practice on Friday for the first time since spraining his shoulder on April 11 and will begin throwing in a few more days. Saunders is aiming to be ready to come off the disabled list when he's eligible next Friday.

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