Erasmo Ramirez had earned this chance, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said before the right-hander’s start against Texas on Wednesday.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth,” McClendon said. “I think his command of his fastball is a lot better. His secondary stuff is much more crisp. I don’t think he’s pitching away from bats anymore. He’s making quality pitches with two strikes.

“He’s really come a long way. This is a very deserving opportunity for him.”

Ramirez had made just two appearances for the big-league club since June but won three of his last four starts with Class AAA Tacoma.

Wednesday didn’t go as planned, for either manager or pitcher. Ramirez was pulled before recording an out in the top of the fourth, allowing 10 runs on nine hits as the Mariners slumped to a 12-4 defeat at Safeco Field.

“I was trying do good every time they called me up,” Ramirez said. “I was doing my work. OK, you go down to Tacoma and continue to do my work. But it’s baseball.”

Ramirez’s start was also about giving the rest of the rotation a breather.

Leading National League contender Washington comes to town starting Friday before the Mariners travel to Oakland for a three-game series with the wild-card leader.

“It’s for the entire rotation,” McClendon said Wednesday morning. “We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get them all freshened up and get them all six or seven days. This time of year, it makes sense.”

Felix Hernandez is scheduled to start Friday night, followed by Chris Young on Saturday and Hisashi Iwakuma on Sunday.

Left-handed pitcher James Paxton was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma to make room for Ramirez. He will be recalled when rosters expand in time for his start Tuesday, McClendon said

Breaking a streak

“It hasn’t happened very often to us this year,” McClendon said of Wednesday’s lopsided loss, and he wasn’t exaggerating.

It was the first time all season the Mariners had given up double-digit runs, and Texas’ offensive outburst broke Seattle’s 144-game streak of allowing less than 10, extending back to September. The streak was the best in club history.

The Mariners are still on pace to become the first team to finish with a sub-3.00 ERA since the 1974 Oakland Athletics, but not by much — the team ERA jumped from 2.92 to 2.99 after Texas’ 12 runs.