April 21, 2011 in Sports

Kennedy’s homer all Mariners need

Elaine Thompson photo

Mariners’ Adam Kennedy, center, is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a home run against the Athletics in the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Seattle.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE — Felix Hernandez took a shutout into the eighth inning and Adam Kennedy’s home run was all the Seattle Mariners needed to beat the Oakland Athletics 1-0 Thursday night.

Hernandez (2-2), last year’s Cy Young Award winner, allowed four singles, two by Cliff Pennington and one by David DeJesus and Josh Willingham.

He struck out eight and walked three before leaving after a season-high 126 pitches.

Jamey Wright took over in the eighth with two outs and Pennington on second and DeJesus on first. Conor Jackson grounded out on his first pitch to end the inning.

Brandon League pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

It wasn’t easy, though. He gave up a leadoff single to Willingham, who reached second on Ryan Sweeney’s groundout. Kurt Suzuki then popped out to first and Mark Ellis popped out to the catcher.

Hernandez is 11-4 in 19 career starts against the A’s with a 2.61 ERA. He has won 10 of his last 12 decisions against Oakland since April 2, 2007.

Kennedy homered for the second night in a row, sending a 3-1 fastball from Brandon McCarthy (1-1) into the right-field seats with one out in the fourth.

Kennedy also had a stellar evening in the field in just his ninth career start at first base. He is filling in for Justin Smoak, who is on bereavement leave.

In the seventh with two outs and a runner on first, Ellis hit a grounder to deep short. Kennedy made a long, falling-down stretch on shortstop Brendan Ryan’s arching throw for the out.

McCarthy went eight innings for his second career complete game. He allowed four hits while walking one and striking out six. His ERA is now 2.10.

Over the past seven games, the A’s starters have a 1.13 earned run average. Overall, the staff leads the major leagues with a 2.52 ERA.

Carlos Peguero got his first major league hit by beating out a single to shortstop in the third. He was then quickly picked off first.

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