Zunino’s two hits all Mariners can muster
SEATTLE – It’s not as though this is some new development. Felix Hernandez pitched well and the Seattle Mariners didn’t give him much run support.
This has been going for the past five seasons.
So when Hernandez delivered another gem of a performance Friday night and his teammates didn’t score him a single run in a 1-0 defeat against the Texas Rangers, it shouldn’t have left Mariners fans stunned.
Heck, in his previous start, Hernandez’s teammates failed to score a single run while he was in the game and was busy striking out 15 batters.
Nope, this was another in the long list of wasted starts and should’ve-been wins that have checkered his career with the Mariners.
Think about this – when Hernandez jogged to the mound to start the ninth inning, he was in the midst of a run of 18 consecutive scoreless innings. Unfortunately, the Mariners themselves were on a run of 15 consecutive innings of failing to score with him in the game.
Unlike at Tampa, where he took a no decision, Hernandez took the loss Friday.
He gave up a one-out single to Elvis Andrus, who later stole second and then stole third. Hernandez walked Shin Soo-Choo to put runners on the corners. Manager Lloyd McClendon called on closer Fernando Rodney to get them out of jam with a double play. Rodney got the ground ball from Adrian Beltre, but the Mariners couldn’t turn the 6-4-3 double play in time. It allowed the only run of the game to score.
And that was it. The Mariners managed just two hits – both from Mike Zunino.
The Mariners should have had a run in the sixth inning. Zunino led off with a double off the wall in left field. With the score 0-0, McClendon decided to play for one run and signaled for Brad Miller to sacrifice Zunino to third with a bunt.
But Miller, who came into the game with a sub-.200 batting average, couldn’t get the bunt down. After two failed attempts, he struck out. Cole Gillespie did move Zunino to third with a ground ball out. But James Jones flew out to right to end the inning.
The Mariners had another chance in the seventh inning. They had runners on first and second with one out, thanks to a walk, a fielder’s choice out and another walk from Texas pitcher Nick Tepesch. The second walk would end his night. Despite Tepesch giving up just two hits in 6 1/3 innings and only throwing 73 pitches, Texas manager Ron Washington lifted him for versatile reliever Jason Frasor. The decision proved correct. Frasor struck out pinch-hitter Endy Chavez and Dustin Ackley to end the inning. It would to be the M’s last threat of the game.