Felix Hernandez stumps Angels in 3-1 loss
SEATTLE (AP) — Most nights, C.J. Wilson’s performance would be good enough to be in line for a win.
With the way Felix Hernandez threw, the Los Angeles lefty needed to be nearly perfect.
"I made enough good pitches to throw deep into the game," Wilson said. "But I didn’t make enough good pitches to win the game."
Wilson pitched into the eighth inning, but couldn’t match the gem thrown by Hernandez in Seattle’s 3-1 win over the Angels on Wednesday night. Hernandez took a shutout bid into the ninth inning, coming within one out of his first complete game since August 2012
Hernandez (7-1) became the seventh pitcher in Mariners history with seven victories before June 1. He won his fourth consecutive start with his most dominant performance of the season.
And he got all the offensive support he needed when catcher Mike Zunino lined a two-out, two-run single off Wilson in the second inning. Zunino added on with a solo homer off Wilson (6-4) on the first pitch of the eighth inning.
FINAL – #Angels 1, Mariners 3 Halos will look to split the series with Seattle with a win tomorrow night.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) May 29, 2014
"At the end of the day if you let the same guy beat you twice that’s my mistake," Wilson said. "He is a major league hitter trying to win the game for his team and I let him do it tonight."
Wilson got in trouble in the second, giving up a leadoff single to Justin Smoak and walking Kyle Seager. John Buck grounded out, but was able to advance both runners, and Dustin Ackley fouled out behind third before Zunino snapped a 0-for-10 skid by slicing single into right field.
Wilson was frustrated about the entire inning, especially the walk to Seager and falling behind in the count to Zunino. Wilson gave up five hits and struck out five. He had won five of his previous six starts at Safeco Field.
I didn’t make enough good pitches to win the game.
-- Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson
"I made enough mistakes to lose the game myself," Wilson said.
Hernandez was on the verge of his first complete game since Aug. 27, 2012 against Minnesota but could not get the 27th out. He cruised through the eighth, still hitting the mid-90s mph on the stadium radar gun and closed the inning striking out Hank Conger.
Hernandez had allowed just two hits when he jogged from the dugout to start the ninth to a big ovation while closer Fernando Rodney warmed up in the bullpen. He struck out Collin Cowgill swinging and retired Howie Kendrick on a fly ball.
But Hernandez couldn’t finish it off against two of the best hitters in baseball. Mike Trout singled and Albert Pujols’ RBI double ended Hernandez’s night at 116 pitches. He struck out nine and walked two. Rodney entered and got David Freese to line out for his 13th save of the season.
"He was strong. He felt great. It’s just tough there, you have to weigh the players but also what is good for the team," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I had my closer up and he was ready to go so we thought it was the best matchup."
Hernandez struck out five of the first nine batters. Kendrick ended any thoughts of another special night from Hernandez with a solid single leading off the fourth. Trout then walked, but Hernandez skirted the jam thanks to Zunino throwing out Kendrick trying to steal third and Freese’s strikeout.
Erick Aybar had the only other hit for the Angels before the ninth inning with a single in the fifth.
"He’s not just throwing, he’s pitching," Angels DH Raul Ibanez said. "He knows what he is doing, a smart pitcher with great stuff and command."
NOTES: Matt Shoemaker will start Thursday’s series finale for the Angels. He was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake after LHP Sean Burnett tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in Tuesday’s game. LHP Wade LeBlanc, the original starter, will now work out of the bullpen. … Seattle RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder) made his first rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday night and threw three innings, giving up five hits, four earned runs and striking out three. He threw 61 pitches. the Angels. He was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake after LHP Sean Burnett tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in Tuesday’s game. LHP Wade LeBlanc, the original starter, will now work out of the bullpen. … Seattle RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder) made his first rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday night and threw three innings, giving up five hits, four earned runs and striking out three. He threw 61 pitches.