April 21, 2010 in Sports

Felix complete success

Ace pitches M’s over Orioles
Associated Press
 
Elaine Thompson photo

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, right, is congratulated by manager Don Wakamatsu after Hernandez pitched a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE — Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw the eighth complete-game of his career, limiting Baltimore to a lone unearned run, and Jack Wilson provided a decisive three-run double as Seattle kept the Orioles reeling with a 4-1 win on Wednesday night.

Seattle completed the three-game sweep of the Orioles, who dropped to 2-14 and continued the worst start for the franchise since losing their first 21 games in 1988 to set a major league record.

Hernnadez (2-0) wasn’t his sharpest, but didn’t need to be against the Orioles despite Kevin Millwood throwing a complete-game for Baltimore in the loss. Hernandez allowed nine singles and didn’t walk a batter.

Wilson’s two-out hit was his fourth double in the last three games, and the three RBIs matched his season total entering the game.

While Wilson got the big hit, the hustle of Matt Tuiasosopo kept the inning alive. Tuiasosopo singled off Millwood (0-3) with two outs to load the bases as Jose Lopez wisely was held at third base.

Rob Johnson, who had Seattle’s first hit off Millwood, chopped a grounder back up the middle that was cut off near the outfield grass by second baseman Justin Turner. Instead of trying a difficult throw across his body to try and get Johnson, Turner made an underhand flip to shortstop Cesar Izturis covering second.

Tuiasosopo hustled and slid his foot into the bag just before Turner’s flip arrived, scoring Lopez and tying the game at 1-1. Wilson then followed with a drive to deep right-center that scored all three.

Despite not being at his finest, Hernandez easily glided through the Orioles. He entered the ninth at just 94 pitches and rarely faced trouble. Baltimore put runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth, but Hernandez got Ty Wigginton to pop out to right field, adding to the two double plays Wigginton grounded into earlier in the night.

Hernandez struck out six in his first complete-game of 2010. His last one was Sept. 18, 2009, a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.

Baltimore, who came into Wednesday last in the American League in runs scored, finished the three games in Seattle with just four runs. Manager Dave Trembley popped off before the game about the Orioles miserable start just minutes after a closed-door team meeting.

The Orioles only run came after Tuiasosopo booted Nick Markakis’ first inning single, allowing him to reach second. Matt Wieters then followed with a single to score Markakis.

Millwood was Hernandez’s equal except for the fourth inning when Seattle sent 10 batters to the plate. Millwood had walked just one batter in 18 2/3 innings entering the night, but allowed three free passes in the fourth inning alone. He gave up six hits and struck out four.

After Franklin Gutierrez finally popped out to end the fourth, Millwood set down 11 of the final 13 batters he faced, but lost for the sixth time in his last seven starts at Safeco Field. It was his 21st career complete game.

NOTES: Seattle LHP Cliff Lee is now slated to make his Seattle debut on Friday, April 30 vs. Texas. Lee will throw a rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday. … Former Mariners’ star prospect Adam Jones finished the series 0-for-12 for Baltimore. … Johnson stole the third base of his career in the third inning on a botched hit-and-run attempt.

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