July 16, 2014 in Sports

Familiar story

Hernandez gets no decision, but A.L. rallies for 5-3 All-Star Game victory
Ryan Divish Seattle Times
Associated Press photo

American League starting pitcher Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners threw a scoreless first inning in his first All-Star start.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

MINNEAPOLIS – Felix Hernandez was in line to get the win Tuesday night, but his teammates couldn’t secure it for him and he had to settle for a no-decision.

Sound familiar?

To be fair, this time the circumstances were slightly different. This was the All-Star Game – a game that has slightly less meaning than a showdown with Oakland. Hernandez didn’t deliver seven or eight innings of baseball goodness only to see it slip away late because of bullpen issues or a lack of run support.

This time it was the best pitchers in the American League who couldn’t hold the lead. This time it was the best hitters in the American League, hitters he terrorizes in the regular season, that couldn’t add the requisite insurance runs. So it was another no decision. But the ending was still happy for Hernandez.

The American League prevailed in the end, picking up a 5-3 victory at a packed Target Field.

So if the Mariners make it to the World Series, something Hernandez doesn’t think is implausible, he’ll be able to start Game 1 at Safeco Field with the Mariners having home-field advantage.

Under the scoring rules of the All-Star Game, Hernandez was in line to get the win after throwing a scoreless top of the first inning and his teammates giving him a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the inning.

Hernandez gave up an infield single to the ultra speedy Andrew McCutchen to start the game. McCutchen hit a bullet to shortstop where Derek Jeter was able to make a brilliant diving stop, but his throw was late.

Hernandez locked in, striking out Yasiel Puig and Troy Tulowitzki on nasty changeups and then getting Paul Goldschmidt to ground out to third to end his outing.

In the bottom of the first, Derek Jeter doubled and scored on Mike Trout’s triple off the wall in right field. Miguel Cabrera followed with line drive two-run homer over the wall in left field.

The last time Hernandez was given a 3-0 lead in the first inning was on June 20, 2013, in Anaheim. He took the loss in the game, blowing a seven-run lead.

This wasn’t quite a dramatic or frustrating.

Jon Lester, a native of Puyallup and a graduate of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, replaced Hernandez after his one inning. He gave up two runs on RBI doubles to Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy. But it still kept Hernandez in line for the win. It became a no-decision in the fourth inning when Lucroy doubled off lefty Chris Sale to score the lightning-fast Dee Gordon all the way from first base.

The American League broke the 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fifth. Trout doubled home Derek Norris and Jose Altuve scored Alexei Ramirez with a deep sacrifice fly to left field. The A.L. kept the 5-3 lead with seven pitchers, including teammate Fernando Rodney, combining to work the final four innings without allowing a run.

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