Felix Hernandez and a little luck help Mariners end skid with 3-2 win over A’s

Staff writerJuly 11, 2014 

— Start with the King and add a little luck. That’s all Felix Hernandez needs — right? — just a little luck.

The Mariners turned that formula into a 3-2 victory over the Oakland A’s while snapping a three-game skid Friday night at Safeco Field.

Hernandez tuned up for a possible start Tuesday in the All-Star Game by becoming the first AL pitcher in 40 years to pitch at least seven innings in 11 straight starts while allowing fewer than three runs.

And he did it the hard way.

Hernandez (11-2) yielded two runs in the first inning before turning dominant. Fernando Rodney worked around a one-out walk in the ninth for his American League-leading 27th save.

Rodney started the ninth by retiring Jed Lowrie on a pop but walked Derek Norris, who went to second on a wild pitch and to third on Yoenis Cespedes’ fly to deep right.

Nick Punto’s foul pop down the left-field line fell between three pursuing Mariners, but Rodney ended the game by slipping a called third strike past Punto, who fired his helmet to the ground in disgust.

That was tension for the crowd of 32,971.

The luck? It came a little earlier.

Robinson Cano’s slicing flare to left, which dropped just fair, turned into a two-out RBI double in the sixth inning and broke a 2-2 tie against A’s starter Jeff Samardzija (1-1).

Cano’s double followed a slicing two-out double to left by James Jones. It also marked the Mariners’ first RBI hit with a runner in scoring position since Brad Miller’s RBI double in the 14th inning last Saturday in Chicago.

A span of 50 innings.

So, yes, long overdue.

Tumwater resident Stephen Vogt, who homered in the first inning, started the Oakland eighth with a soft liner to left for a single. Hernandez then got Josh Donaldson to ground into a double play.

Third baseman Kyle Seager handled a tough hop to start the double play, which brought a fist pump from Hernandez before he ended the inning by retiring Brandon Moss on a grounder to second.

Hernandez gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings — no runs and three hits after the first inning. He struck out nine and walked two in a 101-pitch performance.

He became the first American League pitcher since Gaylord Perry in 1974 to post 11 straight starts of seven or more innings and two or fewer runs.

Oakland jumped to its quick lead in the first inning when Vogt golfed an 0-2 change-up over the right-field wall for a one-out homer.

The A’s weren’t done.

Donaldson beat an overshifted infield for a single, went to second on Moss’ grounder and scored on Jed Lowrie’s two-out single up the middle.

Then, Hernandez got down to business.

Logan Morrison led off the Mariners’ second by driving a full-count fastball to right for a no-doubt homer.

Miller started the third with a hustle double on a liner to center and went to third on Mike Zunino’s grounder to second. Oakland shortened its infield for Endy Chavez, who floated a game-tying sacrifice fly to center.

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners

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