August 11, 2010 in Sports

It’s about time! Hernandez gets just enough run support

Geoff Baker Seattle Times
Associated Press photo

Mariners ace Felix Hernandez tossed eight shutout innings and struck out a career-high 13 batters.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE – Felix Hernandez spent an entire month waiting for his Mariners to give him enough run support to win.

So, having to wait nearly six additional innings on Tuesday night must have seemed a breeze by comparison as he went about shutting down the Oakland Athletics for eight innings with a career-high 13 strikeouts. Casey Kotchman finally delivered the run-scoring single Hernandez needed in the sixth inning, propelling him to a 2-0 win that’s been a long time coming.

Hernandez had gone exactly one month since his previous victory, despite maintaining a sub-3.00 earned-run average in the process. He’d given up three runs or fewer in each of the five outings since, then had to keep the A’s to zero in this one in order to prevail.

The crowd of 21,377 at Safeco Field must have had its doubts about Hernandez’s fate early on. Three straight hits by the A’s to start the contest left them with the bases loaded and nobody out.

But Hernandez fanned clean-up hitter Jack Cust, then got a double-play grounder off the bat of Kevin Kouzmanoff to emerge unscathed. Hernandez would allow just two more hits by Oakland the rest of way, lowering his earned-run average to 2.71 as he improved to 8-9.

Seattle won for the fourth time in five games and for a second straight night under new manager Daren Brown. As usual, the Mariners have done most of their winning through pitching, with the offense scoring just nine runs total the last four games.

• Boxscore /B6

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