ARLINGTON, Texas – At least the Seattle Mariners know Felix Hernandez hasn’t changed at all when it comes to handling adversity.
Hernandez was in a tough situation from his first batter Wednesday, yet regrouped long enough in seven innings to give his team a chance to win. What remains to be seen, coming out of a game that degenerated late into a 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers, is how the Mariners handle some adversity of their own.
With the bullpen already allowing another close game to get out of hand in the eighth inning, the misery was compounded by catcher Adam Moore suffering what appeared to be a fairly serious knee injury racing for a ball behind home plate. Moore will have an MRI exam done in Seattle today, but was in visible pain and limping badly in the clubhouse afterward.
“It’s his right knee and it’s locked up on him,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after his team’s fourth consecutive loss. “We’re going to have an MRI done on him and we’ll see from there.”
The Mariners will also have to deal with some issues surrounding new second baseman Jack Wilson, who had one of his worst moments in a Mariners uniform making two consecutive errors in the second inning that led to three Texas runs. Wilson dropped a relay from Brendan Ryan that could have begun an inning-ending double-play, then threw a ball away on another chance to turn two.
He was pulled from the game when the inning ended. Luis Rodriguez was inserted in his place.
“That right there is unacceptable to have happen,” Wilson said, adding that he wasn’t injured when pulled and agreed with the decision to replace him. “The game we were getting from Felix (Hernandez), there’s no excuse for that to happen.”
Hernandez’s had started the game with a 10-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler. His pitch count was already up to 49 through two innings after the Wilson errors and the crowd of 25,049 fans at Rangers Ballpark was smelling blood, hoping their team could get off to a 6-0 start to the season.
But Hernandez silenced the throng with a six-pitch third, which got him back on track to go his usual seven innings.
“I just threw my pitches,” Hernandez said. “My sinker was good, and that’s why I got a lot of ground balls.”
Rodriguez helped turn a double-play in the third. He then got the comeback going with a double in the fifth off Texas starter C.J. Wilson, followed by a single and a ground out that got the run home.
Milton Bradley then doubled to start the sixth, followed one pitch later by a single from Jack Cust that tied the game. But the Mariners couldn’t do more. After scoring 11 runs their first two victories, the Mariners have managed just 10 in their last four games – all losses.