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HOU@TEX: Darvish dominates over eight shutout frames

Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish said he knows how to handle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez.

"I like to be careful and lay off his changeup but I'd hit his two-seam fastball out of the park," Darvish said.

He was kidding.

"All joking aside, I'm not too worried about the other pitcher," Darvish said. "I just pitch my game."

The two No. 1 starters will be facing each other tonight when the Rangers host the Mariners in the third of their four-game series. Darvish doesn't have to worry about facing Hernandez, but he does have plenty of respect for him.

"I think he's one of the top three pitchers in the big leagues," Darvish said.

Hernandez has certainly earned that reputation across baseball, but the Rangers have been a problem for him. Hernandez will be making his 40th start against the Rangers and he has a career record of 12-20 with a 4.18 ERA. The 20 losses are the most ever by a pitcher against the Rangers since they moved to Arlington in 1972.

It usually takes a Hall of Fame pitcher to hold the record for most losses against one franchise. According to STATS Inc., Early Wynn has the most losses against one team since 1914. The Hall of Famer was 33-58 in his career against the Yankees. Robin Roberts lost 45 times to the Dodgers while Warren Spahn lost 43 times to the Giants and 41 to the Cardinals.

Darvish hasn't overwhelmed the Mariners. He is 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in seven career starts against them, including 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA against them in three starts last year.

"Not just their new hitters but the hitters they had last year are hitting better this year," said Darvish, who has not allowed a run in his first 15 innings this season.

Hernandez downplayed the matchup with Darvish, whom he beat twice in their only previous meetings in Seattle in 2012 while posting a 0.53 ERA (one earned run in 17 innings).

"Is that a big deal?" Hernandez said when asked about the matchup. "I just have to do my job. That's all I've got to do. If he throws good, I've got to put up zeroes, too."

Hernandez is more wary of facing the Rangers' offense after going 0-4 with a 7.57 ERA against the AL West rivals last year.

"Throwing against Texas pumps me up a little bit, yeah," he said. "They've got me a couple times. I've got to do better."

This will be a somewhat different Rangers lineup, however, particularly with former teammate and long-time friend Adrian Beltre on the 15-day disabled list. The two are known for their friendly verbal warfare during the course of a game.

"He said, 'Now you're safe because I'm not playing,'" Hernandez said. "It'll still be fun. It's kind of weird seeing him on the DL though because he doesn't like to be on the DL. It's the best for him, but I've known him for a long time and he doesn't like to do that."

Mariners: Ackley will be back in left Wednesday

Left fielder Dustin Ackley wasn't in the starting lineup for the second time in three days on Tuesday, but manager Lloyd McClendon said that was strictly a matter of getting the 26-year-old a break against left-hander Robbie Ross of the Rangers before Seattle faces a long stretch of righties.

"Really, there's no story," McClendon said. "He's my left fielder and he's going to play. But we've got no days off on this road trip, we have a long trip to Miami and this is the only opportunity I've got to give him another day. He's going to play the next eight in a row before a day off, so it just made sense."

Ackley was batting .302 in his first 11 games, but will continue hitting toward the bottom of the lineup as McClendon feels that's a good situation for both he and catcher Mike Zunino to learn and mature this year.

Rangers: Noesi makes good first impression

Reliever Hector Noesi faced his former team when he made his debut for the Rangers on Monday night. Noesi retired seven of eight hitters while pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Mariners. Noesi was acquired from the Mariners on Friday for a player to be named.

"I thought he threw the ball well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He had a good breaking ball and a good fastball and moved the ball around. For the first time out he was pretty good."

Worth Noting

• With Monday's 7-1 win over the Rangers, rookie left-hander Roenis Elias became the third pitcher in Mariners history to pitch at least five innings and allow two runs or less in each of his first three Major League starts. The others -- Felix Hernandez (first four in 2005) and Bob Stoddard (first three in 1981).

• Elias' 2.16 ERA is also the third lowest for the first three career starts for any Mariners pitcher over the past 10 seasons behind the 0.86 of Hernandez in 2005 and 2.12 of James Paxton last year.

• Leonys Martin is 6-for-18 against Hernandez in his short career. That's his most hits and at-bats against any pitcher.

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