ANAHEIM, Calif. – This was the kind of outing that didn’t do Felix Hernandez and his Cy Young Award chances any favors.
Then again, if not for a Seattle Mariners error on a Hernandez throw in the fifth inning, it could have been a whole lot worse. Hernandez yielded seven runs over 6 1/3 innings in a 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday night, but only four of those runs wound up being earned.
None of the three runs Hernandez allowed in the fifth inning counted toward his league-best earned-run average, which rose from 2.30 to 2.39, because of the error by Josh Wilson on Hernandez’s throw and a prior throwing gaffe by Jose Lopez. Hernandez was close to getting out of things with his ERA barely changed at all, until he left with two on and one out in the seventh and then saw Jamey Wright yield a bases-clearing double.
While Seattle wound up securing a seventh consecutive series loss, Hernandez did not suffer a lethal blow in what’s expected to be a tight Cy Young race with C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees. Sabathia is almost certain to top the 20-win mark, while Hernandez remains stuck with an 11-11 record with only four starts remaining.
Hernandez battled most of the night in front of 39,123 at Angel Stadium, who saw him yield six hits and three walks in his 114-pitch performance. Until Wright gave up the double, Hernandez was positioned for his league-best 28th quality start and would have lowered his ERA slightly.
Seattle had gone 12 innings without a run and trailed 7-0 in the eighth when Ichiro Suzuki launched a three-run homer just beyond the right-field fence. That spelled the end of the night for Ervin Santana, who had stymied the Mariners on three hits through seven scoreless innings before the eighth.
But the game had already been decided in the fifth inning, when the Angels, already up 2-0, struck for three unearned markers off Hernandez.
But the big blow was a two-run single by Torii Hunter with two outs that made it a 5-0 game.
Hernandez struck out five batters to regain the American League lead, 214 to 211 over Angels counterpart Jered Weaver.
Angels 7, Mariners 4
E—Jo.Wilson (18), Jo.Lopez (18). LOB—Seattle 6, Los Angeles 4. 2B—Jo.Wilson (13), Tor.Hunter (34). 3B—Figgins (2). HR—I.Suzuki (6), off E.Santana; H.Matsui (19), off F.Hernandez. RBIs—I.Suzuki 3 (39), Jo.Wilson (21), B.Abreu (72), Tor.Hunter 4 (78), H.Matsui (75), H.Kendrick (67). SB—E.Aybar (20), Bourjos (5). RLISP—Seattle 3 (F.Gutierrez, Branyan, I.Suzuki); Los Angeles 3 (J.Mathis, Napoli, Trumbo). DP—Seattle 1 (M.Saunders, Figgins).
|F.Hernandez L, 11-11||61/3||6||7||4||3||5||114||2.39|
|E.Santana W, 16-9||71/3||5||3||3||1||5||113||4.00|
|Rodney S, 9-14||1/3||0||0||0||0||0||6||4.27|
IR-S—J.Wright 2-2, Rodney 2-0. WP—E.Santana. T—2:44. A—39,123 (45,285).