Cliff Lee was finally complete in Texas, where he struggled so much in the past.
Lee threw a seven-hitter, holding the Rangers scoreless until the ninth inning, to help the Seattle Mariners snap a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers last night.
"I was just locating fastballs, getting ahead in the count, and mixing in a few offspeed pitches here and there and forced them to swing the bat," Lee said. "That was the extent of it."
Except, it had never been that easy before for Lee at Rangers Ballpark, where in his six previous starts - one in each season from 2004-09 - the lefthander had a 9.19 ERA and had allowed at least six runs his last three times out.
"You make mistakes, they'll hit you. This is a hitter's park. If you miss up, they've got some big, strong guys over there who can drive the ball," Lee said. "It's a deadly combination if you're missing out over the plate."
This time, Lee (4-2) struck out seven and walked none while limiting the Rangers to seven singles. He threw 84 of his 107 pitches for strikes.
"That's as professional as you can pitch a ballgame," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "It was just a gutsy performance in that kind of heat."
Texas didn't even get a runner past second base until the ninth. Lee pitched at least eight innings for the third game in a row and fifth time this season.
It was the 15th career complete game for Lee and second in his eight starts since the Mariners acquired him from the Phillies last winter.
Michael Saunders hit a three-run homer for Seattle off Scott Feldman (3-6).
In other games:
* At Cleveland, Daisuke Matsuzaka (5-2) pitched eight shutout innings and pushed his scoreless streak to 15 in Cleveland, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 4-1 win over the Indians.
Before the game, Boston placed closer Jonathan Papelbon on the bereavement list.
* At Oakland, Bobby Abreu hit a two-run homer, Scott Kazmir won for the third time in four starts and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Athletics, 4-2, for their sixth straight victory.