What exasperated the Mariners Friday happened all over again Wednesday — another brilliant outing by their ace wasted. For nearly seven innings, Felix Hernandez was flawless against the Padres. He made one mistake — a wild pitch in the sixth — that left a pivotal blemish on his outing.
The bad pitch with a runner on third and two outs proved costly for Hernandez and the Mariners in a 2-1 loss in San Diego in the third of a split four-game series.
Not only did the pitch tie the score at 1, it changed the momentum of the game.
Through five innings, Hernandez was as electric as he was in his 15-strikeout performance in Tampa Bay. After allowing a single to Seth Smith to begin the game, Hernandez retired the next 15 batters, striking out nine with a terrific curve and devastating change-up.
But in the sixth, a leadoff infield single by Alexi Amarista halted the King’s rhythm. San Diego starter Andrew Cashner, who pitched a good game himself, sacrificed Amarista to second. A groundout to the right side pushed Amarista to third, from where he took off when Hernandez bounced a 1-0 changeup off home plate and away from catcher Mike Zunino. Amarista scored without a throw.
Hernandez (8-2, 2.22 ERA) worked one more scoreless frame before manager Lloyd McClendon went to his bullpen with Hernandez at 97 pitches. Hernandez allowed one run on three hits and struck out 10, the fourth time this season he posted 10 or more strikeouts in a game.
In the eighth inning, reliever Charlie Furbush yielded an infield single to leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera. After another sacrifice bunt moved Cabrera to second and a long battle with Tommy Medica, the pinch-hitter singled home the go-ahead run. It was the fourth loss of the season for Furbush (0-4).
Seattle scratched a run in the second inning when Zunino reached base after being hit on the forearm. A sharp single to left-center field by Dustin Ackley put runners on the corners with one out. One out later, Zunino scored on a single by Brad Miller.
Cashner (2-6, 2.36 ERA) wasn’t as dominant as Hernandez, but left after seven innings just as effective. The tall right-hander mixed in a hard fastball and good slider to limit the Mariners to seven hits and two walks. He struck out two.
Mariners’ 1B Justin Smoak (quad strain) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma Wednesday. Smoak batted 0-for-3 with a walk as the designated hitter for the Rainiers . . . RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (stiff neck) threw from flat ground prior to the game. Iwakuma remains scheduled to pitch Friday versus the Royals . . . OF Michael Saunders (right AC joint inflammation) and 1B/DH Corey Hart (hamstring) are expected to begin rehab assignments with the Rainiers Friday. If all goes well, Saunders could return as soon as June 26 when he is eligible to be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. Hart, who has been out since May 18, likely will be with the Rainiers for the majority of the 20-day rehabilitation period, according to McClendon.
Felix can’t complain quite as much this time as he was in the lineup too. But I tell ya, he must spend his offseasons as a Buddhist monk by the way he accepts the failings (flailings?) of his teammates.
Frankly I was surprised he re-signed – he has had to live with no run support most of his career.
The King is burned again: When will these guys’ bats wake up and support this guy???
I was surprised @ only 97 pitches and 7 innings that he was pulled. Even though he looked a little shaky I would have let him go out for the 8th and kept an eye on him.
As for Furbush – what a dumb ass, letting the infield pop drop between him and the 3rd baseman. He was tracking it all the way then backed off at the very last second.
This runner was the first score of the game: If Furbush catches this, no runner and no run scores
Ridiculous to watch this kind of single A action.
Can’t anyone on that team hit the ball? They turn average pitchers into Cy young. it’s frustrating and boring at the same time.
There’s a disturbing trend here. Teams that the the M’s have a successful series against can’t anticipate the moves that team will make in adjustment from that seriies. The Yankees, Rangers and last night the Padres all learned from their recent losses against the M’s. Right now the M’s simply don’t have the personnel to keep throwing different looks at teams they play again.
I just don’t think losing matters that much to Felix. If he cared a lot about winning, there is no way he would re-sign with this team repeatedly. I don’t exactly blame him. He can be “King” in this town as far as baseball goes, while making a ton of dough, never having to face any real pressure, and knowing he gets to go on vacation by the end of September every year. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, to me.