CLEVELAND – A visibly peeved Felix Hernandez sat by his locker for several minutes after this loss, a 9-1 Mariners defeat Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
He rattled off a series of words in Spanish to Mariners teammates Jose Lopez and Franklin Gutierrez.
Hernandez said later he was most upset at himself for the gopher-ball sinker he threw Travis Hafner in the seventh inning, which was golfed over the center-field wall for a grand slam. The blast keyed a seven-run seventh by the Indians that sent Hernandez and company reeling.
For Hernandez, the frustration has to be mounting in a season that’s seen him post a 2.62 earned-run average while compiling just an 8-10 record. Any mistake, it seems, costs him the game. This time, the gaffe came well before the slam, when second baseman Chone Figgins bobbled a two-out grounder to keep the inning alive.
“Errors are a part of the game,” Hernandez said in what’s become an almost automatic response to setbacks that derail his games. “They’re a part of baseball. I was like, ‘Just make good pitches.’ ”
Hernandez had been doing that all day, silencing the crowd of 14,888 at Progressive Field as he engaged in a scoreless duel with mound counterpart Justin Masterson. He’d shown no-hit stuff through four innings, a two-hitter through six and was nearly through a perfect seventh until the Figgins error.
Figgins recovered after bobbling the grounder by Luis Valbuena and threw high to the bag. Valbuena beat the throw in any event and the umpire ruled Casey Kotchman took his foot off the bag stretching for the throw.
Two singles, a double, an intentional walk, the slam and 21 pitches later, Hernandez was trudging to the showers down 6-0 and wearing the look of a guy who didn’t know what hit him.
Hernandez insisted he kept his focus after the error. But things came apart so quickly he barely knew what happened.
“It was weird, huh?” Hernandez said. “I mean, I felt good today. I felt strong, I was making good pitches. But in that inning, my fastball stayed a little bit up.”
|Seattle||000||000||010 – 1||3||1|
|Cleveland||000||000||72x – 9||11||0|
b-lined out for Woodward in the 9th. E – Figgins (13). LOB – Seattle 8, Cleveland 7. 2B – Kotchman (14), A.Cabrera (11), Marson (8). HR – Hafner (10), off F.Hernandez; J.Nix (10), off White; Brantley (3), off Seddon. RBIs – F.Gutierrez (49), Brantley 3 (13), A.Cabrera (14), Hafner 4 (37), J.Nix (22). RLSP – Seattle 4 (F.Gutierrez, Figgins 2, Kotchman); Cleveland 3 (Valbuena, Choo, Brantley). RMU – A.Cabrera. DP – Cleveland 1 (Choo, LaPorta).
|F.Hernandez L, 8-10||62/3||6||6||0||4||7||110||2.62|
|Sipp W, 2-2||1||0||0||0||0||1||10||4.96|
IR-S – J.Smith 2-1. IBB – off F.Hernandez (Choo). T – 2:48. A – 14,888 (45,569).