Mariners 4, Padres 2
Felix Hernandez wasn’t happy to see Seattle manager Don
Wakamatsu come out of the dugout in the ninth inning to replace
Hernandez came within one out of a complete game and the
Mariners held on for a 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday,
snapping a five-game losing streak.
One day after a players-only meeting that followed a 7-1 loss
Saturday night, Hernandez’s gem couldn’t have come at a better time
for struggling Seattle.
“We talked about having a tremendous performance by Felix and
he went out and did,” Wakamatsu said. “A gutsy performance.”
Hernandez pitched a dominant game to stem the tide of eight
losses in nine games for the Mariners. They had dropped five of six
on this road trip, getting outscored 44-14.
“It was a must-win,” said Milton Bradley, who hit a two-run
homer. “The way we’ve been playing was unacceptable. The way I’ve
been playing has been unacceptable. It’s time to do something about
it, starting with myself.”
Bradley’s homer tied it in the fourth and Jose Lopez doubled
home the go-ahead run in the eighth.
Hernandez (4-5) held the Padres in check other than a two-run,
inside-the-park homer by Tony Gwynn in the third inning. The
right-hander gave up four hits, tied his season high with nine
strikeouts and walked one while throwing a season-high 128
“He has turned into one of the true No. 1s on a major league
staff,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
While the Mariners were not willing to credit their closed-door
meeting for Sunday’s performance, Hernandez said it was
“We talked about good things and then we went out there and
fought,” Hernandez said. “It’s important for us, I’m not going to
lie. Our minds are better.”
Hernandez was within one out of his second complete game this
season when he was replaced by David Aardsma. Wakamatsu’s trip to
the mound produced a lighthearted moment after the manager motioned
for the pitching change when he came out of the dugout.
“I asked him, ‘Why don’t you come to the mound first and ask me
how I feel?”’ Hernandez said with a smile. “He said, ‘I know the
answer, that’s why.”’
Adrian Gonzalez had reached on a one-out bloop single in the
ninth before Scott Hairston forced him at second base for the
second out. Aardsma then replaced Hernandez and retired Nick
Hundley for his 13th save in 17 chances.
Hernandez threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of his 31 batters.
“Four hits tells you what kind of stuff he had,” Wakamatsu
said. “But to get deep in the game, you have to get ahead of the
hitters. I thought he attacked the zone.”
Bradley’s homer, his fifth, came off starter Clayton Richard,
and was his second in three games.
Lopez broke a 2-all tie in the eighth when he doubled into the
left-field corner off Luke Gregerson (1-2). The hit scored Chone
Figgins, who led off with a single.
Gregerson had his string of 13 2-3 scoreless innings
Ichiro Suzuki added an RBI double in the ninth off Joe Thatcher.
Rob Johnson, who led off the inning with a single, finished with
three hits to tie his career high.
Gwynn put the Padres ahead with his inside-the-park shot.
Following Jerry Hairston Jr.’s leadoff double, Gwynn hit a sinking
line drive to center field that Franklin Gutierrez failed to field
as he tried for a diving catch.
The ball got past Gutierrez, who initially hesitated coming in,
and rolled all the way to the wall before left fielder Bradley
retrieved it. By that time, the speedy Gwynn was rounding third,
and he scored standing up without a throw.
It was Gwynn’s second homer of the season and his first
“I knew that once he missed it, I figured that they were
probably playing me a little shallow,” Gwynn said. “I knew the
ball was going to roll all the way to the wall, so I just put my
head down and ran.”
The only other hit off Hernandez was a single by Scott Hairston
leading off the seventh.
Hernandez appeared to pick off Scott Hairston at first base
before plate umpire Angel Hernandez called him for a balk, sending
the runner to second. He advanced to third on a groundout, but
Hernandez got out of the inning by striking out Will Venable and
getting Hairston Jr. on a grounder.
Richard allowed five hits over seven innings. The left-hander
walked four and struck out two.
NOTES: Suzuki’s ninth-inning double extended his interleague
hitting streak to 17 games, the top active streak in the majors.
Suzuki is batting .429 (33 for 77) during the streak. … Gwynn’s
father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, had two inside-the-park homers in
his 20-year career. … Black was back after missing Saturday’s
game to attend his daughter’s graduation from Oregon State.