Mariners 1, Athletics 0
It was just like old times for Felix Hernandez – strong outing
on the mound and next to no run support.
Hernandez took a shutout into the eighth inning Thursday night
and Adam Kennedy’s home run was all the Seattle Mariners needed to
beat the Oakland Athletics 1-0.
”I was making great pitches. I was on it all night,” Hernandez
said. ”I make good pitches, they give me one run, we win.”
Hernandez (2-2) allowed four singles, two by Cliff Pennington
and one by David DeJesus and Josh Willingham. He struck out eight
and walked three before leaving after a season-high 126
Hernandez won the Cy Young Award last season with a meager 13-12
record and 2.27 earned run average. He had the lowest run support
in the American League, 3.10 runs per game. The Mariners scored one
run or fewer in 10 of his starts.
One run was enough this time, even though he A’s threatened in
the eighth and ninth.
Jamey Wright took over in the eighth with two outs and
Pennington on second and DeJesus on first. Conor Jackson grounded
out on his first pitch to end the inning.
Brandon League pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four
chances but it wasn’t easy.
He gave up a leadoff single to Willingham, who reached second on
Ryan Sweeney’s groundout. Kurt Suzuki then popped out to first,
with Kennedy making a nifty, over-the-shoulder catch, and Mark
Ellis popped out to the catcher.
Hernandez is 11-4 in 19 career starts against the A’s with a
2.61 ERA. He has won 10 of his last 12 decisions against Oakland
since April 2, 2007.
”He was special tonight. He had command of the ballgame all
night long,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ”His stuff is as
good as anyone in the game. We took him as long as we could take
him. He really dug in and dug deep for us.”
Kennedy homered for the second night in a row, sending a 3-1
fastball from Brandon McCarthy (1-1) into the right-field seats
with one out in the fourth. It’s the third time in his career he
has hit home runs in consecutive games.
”It’s certainly an at-bat I’d like to have back,” McCarthy
said. ”I got behind him and then had to come into his wheelhouse
with that pitch. Going against Felix, you know you have to do your
best to avoid at-bats like that.”
Kennedy also had an outstanding evening in the field in just his
ninth career start at first base. He is filling Justin Smoak, who
is on bereavement leave.
He made at least four stellar plays. The critical one came in
the seventh with two outs and a runner on first. Ellis hit a
grounder to deep short. Kennedy made a long, falling-down stretch
on shortstop Brendan Ryan’s arching throw for the out.
”You’re just trying to survive when you play out of position
like that,” said Kennedy, who has played just 58 of his 1,465
career innings at first base. ”We’re not scoring a lot of runs and
all our pitchers are pitching their hearts out. You have a little
extra energy for them to make those plays.”
McCarthy, the ultimate victim of lack of run support this game,
went eight innings for his second career complete game. He allowed
four hits while walking one and striking out six. His ERA is now
His other complete game was May 24, 2009 when he was with Texas
Over the past seven games, the A’s starters have a 1.13 earned
run average. Overall, the staff leads the major leagues with a 2.52
Carlos Peguero got his first major league hit by beating out a
single to shortstop in the third. He was then quickly picked off
This was the 41st 1-0 victory in Mariners history, the third for
Hernandez. It also was the 25th time in club history the Mariners
have shut out the A’s.
Notes: Both teams had late lineup changes. Mariners LF Milton
Bradley was scratched because of an upset stomach. An illness also
forced 1B Daric Barton out of Oakland’s. Barton pinch hit in the
eighth. … RHP Shawn Kelley, who had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 1
last year, joined the Mariners after his extended spring in
Arizona. ”It definitely feels like there’s a light at the end of
the tunnel, getting out of Arizona,” he said. He’s hoping to
return by June 1. … A’s LHP Dallas Braden had his ailing shoulder
examined by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum and he found
no structural damage. ”Just a little stiffness in the shoulder,”
A’s manager Bob Geren said. ”We’ll treat him and go from there.”
… A’s RHP Michael Wuertz, on the DL with a strained left
hamstring, threw 39 pitches for Triple-A Sacramento Wednesday. He
will throw again Saturday.