Just three days after Hisashi Iwakuma dazzled in throwing a no-hitter, the Seattle Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez, hit bottom Saturday in a 22-10 annihilation by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
They’d better hope it was bottom, anyway.
“Embarrassing,” Hernandez said. “It was embarrassing. I couldn’t get the ball down. Every pitch I threw, they hit it. Everything was up. I couldn’t make any adjustments. That was on me. That was my fault.”
Some anniversary this was.
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It was exactly three years earlier that Hernandez pitched a perfect game in a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay at Safeco Field. That stood as the last no-hitter by an American League pitcher before Iwakuma’s gem against Baltimore.
This was nothing like that.
“Every pitch out there was a mistake.” Hernandez said. “Everything I threw, they put the bat on and it was a base hit.”
Hernandez gave up 10 runs and 12 hits in 2 1/3 innings. The 10 runs, all earned, matched a career-worst for his 327 starts over 11 seasons. The King previously gave up 10 runs on May 16, 2006, in a 12-6 loss at Oakland.
But Hernandez lasted four innings in that game, and five of the 10 runs were unearned. What also made Saturday’s outing worse is it followed a 15-1 shellacking in Friday’s series opener.
“Felix was fine,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He just threw a clunker. It was a bad outing. What do you want me to say? (Friday) was a bad outing. (Sunday) hopefully we’ll have a good outing and win a game.”
It wasn’t just Felix. The bullpen absorbed another beating: 12 runs in 5 2/3 innings; which makes 18 runs in 11 1/3 innings over two days. Lefties Joe Beimel and Rob Rasmussen each gave up four runs in less than an inning.
The 22 runs and 26 hits were the most ever allowed by the Mariners. The previous records were 20 runs at Detroit on April 17, 1993, and 24 hits by the White Sox in Chicago on Aug. 9, 2000.
More insults: The 37 runs are, by far, the most surrendered by the Mariners in back-to-back games. The previous record was 30 on May 10-11, 1994 in 16-2 and 14-6 losses to the White Sox in Chicago.
Sweet Caroline …
Afterward, the Mariners sought to shrug off the two blowouts.
“Two bad ones, but a loss is a loss,” said Nelson Cruz, who hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning. “You just refocus and try to (win) on Sunday. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves.
“It’s a shame, but there’s nothing you can do. Even when you play well, the next day is another game. That’s the way we look at it.”
Was this Hernandez’s worst start ever? It makes the short list, certainly, but it might not even be his worst of the season. He gave up eight runs in one-third of an inning on June 12 in a 10-0 loss at Houston.
It’s been that kind of year.
Hernandez (14-7) has given up at least seven runs in four different starts but still, somehow, remains tied for the major-league lead in victories while toiling for a club that is now nine games under .500 at 54-63.
“I was trying,” he said. “I was trying everything out there. It was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ Even if I made a good pitch, they still got a hit. It was one of those days where you’ve just got to forget about it.
“Just move on.”
The Mariners, after falling behind 19-2, scored eight runs over the final two innings against three Boston relievers. Austin Jackson and Mike Zunino joined Cruz in hitting homers.
Overall, though, this was ibid, Op. cit. and ditto from Friday.
“There’s not a lot you can say,” McClendon said. “We got our butts kicked. The only silver lining to all of this is we were able to score 10 runs. Our offense came alive and kept battling. And there were no injuries.”
Boston got two home runs by Jackie Bradley Jr. and one each by Pablo Sandoval and Alejandro De Aza. Bradley had five hits, while Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart each had four.
Left-hander Wade Miley (9-9) wobbled a bit in the third, when the Mariners closed to 5-2, but otherwise breezed through seven innings.
So now what?
“I wouldn’t say it’s a problem,” second baseman Robinson Cano said. “It’s just part of the game. You’ve just got to forget about the last two days. Just go out, have a nice dinner and refresh your mind for tomorrow.
“Come back out and be ready to play.”