SEATTLE – No matter how good Felix Hernandez looked in this one, it was clear he’d need help to get his Mariners over the top.
Hernandez did his part by tying a career high with 13 strikeouts against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night, but his teammates again made an opposing pitcher look like his mirror image. The Mariners saw their latest stretch of scoreless innings drag on through 15 innings before John Jaso helped secure a 1-0 win with a single to drive home Casper Wells in the bottom of the ninth.
Wells had reached on a one-out double to left-center against relief pitcher Scott Atchison. After an intentional walk to Justin Smoak, pinch-hitter Jaso lined a ball to right for a single.
The throw from right fielder Cody Ross arrived in time and Wells looked like he was going to be called out. But catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia could not hold on to the ball and Wells was ruled safe, setting off a wild celebration.
In the seventh inning, Wells had made a sliding catch in foul territory, hitting the wall but holding on as the crowd cheered. Then, with two on in the eighth, Michael Saunders bailed Hernandez out with a racing catch in the left-center gap.
Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez reportedly suffered a slight concussion when Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzales whiffed with the glove on a slightly errant pickoff throw by Boston starting pitcher Franklin Morales.
The ball hit Gutierrez flush on the right side of his face.
Gutierrez lay on the ground for several minutes being tended to by team trainers. He finally got up and was helped to the clubhouse.
The crowd of 20,692 saw the Hernandez of old take the mound for this game. Hernandez had shown improvement his prior two outings, but those had come against lesser-hitting N.L. opponents San Diego and San Francisco.
Boston boasts some of the better hitting numbers in the stronger A.L., but Hernandez made it clear early that he was up to the task.
He retired the first eight batters he faced, striking out four of them by changing speeds and location at will.