August 25, 2010 in Sports

Felix Hernandez reaches milestone in M’s win

Seattle splits pair at Boston
Associated Press
Elise Amendola photo

Felix Hernandez became the third-youngest pitcher to reach 1,000 strikeouts since 1952.
(Full-size photo)

BOSTON – Felix Hernandez became the third youngest pitcher since 1952 to reach 1,000 strikeouts, pitched 7 1/3 strong innings and led the Seattle Mariners to a 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox and a split of their day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.

Hernandez (10-10) struck out nine and allowed four hits and one walk as the Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak while ending the Red Sox winning streak at four.

Boston scored an unearned run in the third and trailed 4-1 when Tim Wakefield (3-10) left after 5 1/3 innings. Then J.D. Drew hit a solo homer in the sixth, the first earned run off Hernandez in 27 2/3 innings over four starts. The Red Sox threatened in the eighth with runners at second and third with one out.

Then Brandon League replaced Hernandez and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his fourth save in nine chances.

In the opener, Josh Beckett (4-3) got his first victory in four starts as the Red Sox won 5-3.

Hernandez lowered his ERA from 2.51 to 2.47, second in the A.L. to Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox at 2.26. He also recorded his 1,000th strikeout, fanning David Ortiz in the sixth, at the age of 24 years, 139 days. Only Bert Blyleven (23 years, 121 days) and Dwight Gooden (23 years, 249 days) did it at a younger age.

Wakefield was a late replacement for scheduled starter Jon Lester, who was pushed back to Friday’s opener of a three-game road series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Daisuke Matsuzaka was set to start that game but has soreness in his lower back.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first when Ichiro Suzuki reached on Wakefield’s two-base throwing error, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on Russell Branyan’s groundout.

Jose Lopez’s two-run single made it 3-0 in the third before the Red Sox scored in the bottom of the inning when shortstop Josh Wilson made two fielding errors. Ryan Kalish scored it on a wild pitch.

Seattle made it 4-1 in the sixth on Matt Tuiasosopo’s RBI double.

The only hit off Hernandez through five innings was Kalish’s double in the third. With one out in the sixth, Drew hit his 17th homer and Victor Martinez singled but the next two batters were retired.

In the opener, Boston scored the game’s first four runs in the sixth while Beckett, who was 0-2 with a 10.69 ERA in his previous three starts, gave up just one hit.

But the Mariners drove Beckett from the game with three runs in the seventh on a solo homer by Russell Branyan and a two-run shot by Casey Kotchman. After Beckett left with one out in the inning, the Mariners were held hitless by Daniel Bard for 1 2/3 innings and Jonathan Papelbon in a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 38 opportunities.

For five innings, Beckett was engaged in a duel with David Pauley (2-5) whose only major league wins came in his previous two games. Pauley allowed two hits until getting knocked out of the game in the sixth.

Marco Scutaro led off with a single to third and took second on Martinez’s one-out single to left. Ortiz then walked, loading the bases. Adrian Beltre followed with a hard shot to the mound off Pauley’s glove that bounced toward the third-base line as Scutaro scored the first run.

Mike Lowell hit a sacrifice fly to right and Daniel Nava made it 4-0 with a two-run lined single over the head of second baseman Chone Figgins. Jamey Wright replaced Pauley and struck out Hall to end the inning.

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