"I'm 1-4, Mac. I'm 1-4!" the left-hander growled back at McLaren last week, without cracking a smile.
A smile appeared Monday night -- for Washburn and his previously punchless offense.
Washburn (2-4) stifled Texas on just one hit through six innings before leaving with a calf injury, Wladimir Balentien and Richie Sexson homered to provide all the offense needed, and Seattle beat the Rangers 7-3 to end a five-game losing streak.
"It bothers me a lot. I hate losing," Washburn said about his bottom line, almost grunting after allowing three runs or fewer for the fifth time in seven starts. "Anytime you are 1-4 -- no matter how well you pitch -- it's still 1-4."
The left-hander doubled his win total by allowing four hits and three runs in six-plus innings against Texas. He struck out three and walked none.
Kevin Millwood (2-3) gave up nine hits and seven runs in three innings, his shortest start of the season, and lost his 10th consecutive road decision. That tied the Texas franchise record by Joe McClain of the Washington Senators from 1961-62.
At least Millwood is still on track for his next start Saturday against Oakland. McLain's brief career ended before he could stop his road losing streak.
"I didn't have an easy inning, period," Millwood said. "You miss over the plate all the time and that is what is going to happen."
Millwood has allowed 17 earned runs in his past 15 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Texas was without Josh Hamilton, who was leading the major leagues with 33 RBI while starting every game. The center fielder did not start in what manager Ron Washington called "a mental break."
"No one expected him to play the whole month of April," Washington said of Hamilton, who won a game at Seattle last month with a home run in the ninth inning off closer J.J. Putz.
As good as Hamilton has been, he probably couldn't have produced the touchdown that Texas needed against Washburn after six innings.
Washburn beat Texas for the first time in three years, a run of 10 starts. And it was his first home win in 11 months -- one which kept the disappointing Mariners out of last place in the AL West they had planned on winning this season.
"Hopefully, we can get this thing started. Right now, our goal is to get to .500," McLaren said with sobering realism.
Washburn called the night, "a step in the right direction."
A painful step. Washburn had a 7-0 lead and had allowed just two baserunners entering the seventh despite feeling a familiar tug in his calf while warming up before the game. He bulled through, relying mostly on fastballs. He advised pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre to watch that he wasn't changing his mechanics to compensate for the injury.
McLaren called the injury minor, adding trainers gave him belief that Washburn would make his next start.
Washburn was more cautious, because he's had this injury before. He missed the last two scheduled starts of 2006 with it.
"Hopefully, it's not as bad as a couple of years ago. It's in the same spot," he said. "We'll see."
After feeling what he called "a pop" on his last pitch of the sixth, Washburn gave up a single to Gerald Laird, a double to Michael Young and a two-run double to Milton Bradley in the seventh. He left the game after a brief mound consultation between McLaren, Stottlemyre and an assistant trainer.
Washburn waved to the crowd just before disappearing into the dugout, the third time in two weeks a Mariners starter left a game because of injury.
Sexson hit a solo home run, his seventh of the season, and Balentien hit a three-run homer off Millwood in the third to put the Mariners up 7-0. Balentien's was a no-doubt drive that banged off a fence and stairwell far above the Rangers' bullpen. It was the third home run in 22 major league at-bats for Balentien, who has started every game since Seattle recalled him April 30 from Triple-A Tacoma to replace released right fielder Brad Wilkerson.
Putz, an All-Star last season who has struggled with injuries and wildness lately, made his first appearance since blowing a save at Cleveland on Thursday. He allowed two hits in the ninth.
- Millwood's last road win was June 17, 2007, at Cincinnati - 13 road starts ago.
- Seattle had one hit in 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position in its previous four games. An RBI single by Jose Lopez and an RBI double by Raul Ibanez in the first made the Mariners 2-for-2 in such situations three batters into the game.