September 1, 2010 in Sports

Mariners’ rally came after ace left game in 7th

Geoff Baker Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Seven innings through his latest scoreless duel and Felix Hernandez was done for the night.

There were times this season when it would have been unthinkable to pull Hernandez at 103 pitches heading into the eighth inning, but those days, apparently, are long gone. Hernandez lowered his earned-run average to 2.38 Tuesday night but did not factor in the decision of a game his team came back to win, 3-1, over the Los Angeles Angels with three eighth-inning runs.

Adam Moore delivered the go-ahead single in the eighth off Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen. Moore’s flare over the head of second baseman Howie Kendrick also helped the Seattle catcher atone for an earlier baserunning gaffe that ended a rare Mariners scoring chance.

Hernandez was dominant as usual, retiring 14 of the final 16 batters he faced and reaching the 200-strikeout plateau for the second straight year by fanning Erick Aybar in the seventh. The crowd of 18,737 at Safeco Field saw Hernandez not allow an earned run for the fourth time in his past five outings, once again staking his claim for a run at the American League Cy Young Award.

But to capture the ultimate pitching prize, Hernandez will have to convince Baseball Writers’ Association of America members to ignore a win-loss record that remained struck at 10-10 because his team once again failed to score runs for him.

Los Angeles starter Dan Haren scattered seven hits over seven shutout innings and the Mariners once again ran themselves out of a potential rally. With two on and two out in the second, Ichiro chopped an infield single.

Angels shortstop Aybar cut across the diamond to take the ball. Lead runner Moore took a very wide turn at third base and wandered too far off the bag.

Aybar stared Moore down and seemed to freeze him in his tracks with several pump fakes. Moore finally tried to dive back into third base but was tagged out to end the inning.

The Angels finally broke the scoring ice off Brandon League in the top of the eighth, with Alberto Callaspo and Kendrick notching back-to-back doubles. But the M’s came right back in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out off Jepsen, who had just come on to replace Haren.

Michael Saunders delivered a fly ball to the base of the warning track in right field that was plenty deep enough to bring the tying run in from third. And then, Moore delivered the clutch single to make it a 2-1 game.

Josh Wilson delivered a huge single to left after that to bring in a third run and give closer David Aardsma a two-run cushion to start off the ninth.

Hernandez sits second in the A.L. in ERA, trailing only the 2.21 by Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox.

Hernandez’s 200 strikeouts ties him for the league lead with Angels starter Jered Weaver.

Los Angeles ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
Callaspo 3b 412001.288
H.Kendrick 2b 401101.280
B.Abreu lf 300013.254
Tor.Hunter rf 401001.291
H.Matsui dh 200020.260
Napoli 1b 200020.247
E.Aybar ss 401001.265
J.Mathis c 300001.193
Bourjos cf 300001.203
Totals 2915159
I.Suzuki rf 502000.309
Figgins 2b 401001.244
F.Gutierrez cf 400002.249
Branyan dh 200021.238
Tuiassopo pr-dh 010000.182
Jo.Lopez 3b 412001.243
Kotchman 1b 311011.224
M.Saunders lf 200111.221
A.Moore c 402101.198
Jo.Wilson ss 402101.248
Totals 32310349
Los Angeles 000000010—151
Seattle 00000003x—3101

E—Bourjos (1), Figgins (15). LOB—Los Angeles 6, Seattle 10. 2B—Callaspo (24), H.Kendrick (34), Jo.Lopez (25). RBIs—H.Kendrick (64), M.Saunders (29), A.Moore (10), Jo.Wilson (19). SB—Callaspo (5), I.Suzuki (35), Figgins (33). SF—M.Saunders. RLISP—Los Angeles 3 (J.Mathis 3); Seattle 5 (Jo.Lopez 2, F.Gutierrez, A.Moore, I.Suzuki). GIDP—Tor.Hunter, Napoli, J.Mathis. DP—Seattle 3 (Jo.Wilson, Figgins, Kotchman), (Jo.Lopez, Kotchman), (Jo.Lopez, Figgins, Kotchman).

Haren 7700281103.50
Jepsen L, 2-4 BS, 4-4 2/323321235.04
F.Rodriguez 1/31000043.67
FHernandez 7300381042.38
League W, 9-6 121111182.78
Aardsma S, 26-31 100010203.86

IR-S—F.Rodriguez 2-1. IBB—off League (B.Abreu). PB—J.Mathis. T—2:34. A—18,737 (47,878).

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