Mariners lefty Roenis Elias was one pitch -- a bloop RBI single from Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez -- from avoiding his first poor start of his rookie season last week in Miami.
But the single extended the sixth inning and provided Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna a chance to hit. He launched a three-run homer that ended Elias' night after giving up six runs, (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
"We kept him out there probably longer than we should have, but our bullpen had been so taxed, we tried to get another inning out of him," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "And he ended up giving up a couple more runs in that ballgame."
With an off-day and nearly a week separating starts, Elias should be ready to regain his form when the Mariners open a weekend series against the Rangers on Friday night at Safeco Field.
Prior to his start vs. Miami, Elias had combined to post a 2.16 ERA and hold opponents to a .196 batting average over 16 2/3 innings. The final results were mixed -- a win, a loss and a no-decision -- but it kept McClendon from dipping into a bullpen that's regularly had to bail out a rotation dealing with injuries to Taijuan Walker, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton.
Texas starter Robbie Ross Jr. (1-1) was only part of the problem Sunday in a 16-2 loss to the White Sox. The lefty gave up seven hits and seven runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings while walking none and striking out eight. He threw 65 of 86 pitches for strikes, but yielded a pair of home runs on his way to his first loss of the season, raising his ERA to 2.31.
"Just try to attack hitters and not be so fine," Ross Jr. said of the approach that's helped him to a solid April. "Not put too much pressure on myself, but understand I have guys behind me that can make plays and can score runs."
Last week against the Mariners, Ross had his best performance of the season, yielding five hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings.
Rangers: Beltre, Harrison set for return
Third baseman Adrian Beltre will come off the disabled list this weekend against his former team after being sidelined for most of April with a strained left quad muscle.
Backup Kevin Kouzmanoff played well while Beltre was out, posting a .362/.412/.617 slash line in his first season with Texas. Kouzmanoff did not start Wednesday because of back tightness, though he is expected to be available this weekend.
Left-hander Matt Harrison is scheduled to start Sunday's finale after missing most of 2013 and the first part of this season with a herniated disc in his back. Harrison was initially going to pitch in the series opener, but the club rearranged the rotation so that righty Colby Lewis and Harrison will miss throwing in an Interleague series in Colorado on May 5-6.
"We don't want them on the basepaths, and we don't want them swinging the bat," manager Ron Washington told reporters Wednesday.
Mariners: Paxton, Iwakuma on the way back
Injured pitchers Paxton (lat strain) and Walker (shoulder impingement) have been cleared to begin throwing, McClendon said before Wednesday's game.
Paxton hasn't pitched since April 8 against the Angels, but he's about halfway into his six-to-eight week rehab program. He'll begin throwing Friday.
Walker, the organization's top pitching prospect, was shut down for a week after being sidelined with shoulder inflammation on his throwing side in late February. He gradually worked his way back during Spring Training, then made two rehab starts -- one for Class A Advanced High Desert and one with Double-A Jackson -- before being shut down last week with the same shoulder pain a few hours before his start for Triple-A Tacoma.
In 2013 with the Mariners, Walker was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three late-season starts. He'll play catch Monday.
"It's kind of tough getting ready for a game when you see your 2-3-4 starters walk by you in the dugout," McClendon said. "We can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
• Mariners' starting pitchers haven't allowed more than three earned runs in any of their eight appearances at Safeco Field this season. In 48 innings, they've combined to post a 3.38 ERA (18 earned runs) with 40 strikeouts.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.