Well, that was a pretty decent outing from Mr. Felix Hernandez. A complete-game, two-hit shutout that snapped a three-game losing streak. That's what No. 1 starters do for teams. Yeah, he's kind of a big deal.
Felix worked nine innings allowing two hits, he walked four and had six strikeouts.
So when we met with Felix after the game, what did he want to talk about? His hitting of course.
Is that about as well as you can pitch?
"It was ok, not bad," he said flashing a wide grin. "But I was mad because I didn't get a hit."
When reminded that he did work a walk in the ninth inning that led to a run, he seemed proud.
"Yeah, I worked a walk," he said. "That was an outstanding at-bat."
But regarding the shut-out, Hernandez seemed otherwise unimpressed with himself.
"I felt pretty good today," he said. "All the pitches were there. I had great command after the first inning."
But others were impressed ...
"Felix was outstanding," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "Obviously, you look for a guy of his talent to be a stop-gap guy when you go on a little losing streak and to be able to step up and pitch the way he did."
His catcher was certainly impressed.
"It's got to rate as one of the best performances I've caught," Jamie Burke said. "Obviously all four pitches were working. He had command of everything. It was just a matter of which ones we wanted to use. There's nothing I can say but it's fun to be back there catching when he has command of all his pitches."
But Burke had plenty to say about Felix's growing maturity.
"I saw him when he was in the minor and you could tell this kid was going to be good," Burke said. "He just needed to mature. Since I've been around him the last three years, it's amazing at what he believes can do and how much he trusts in stuff.
"It doesn't seem like he's 23 year old with his mentality out there and the way we go about our preparation before the game. He knows what he wants to do out there and he goes out and does it."
Wakamatsu thinks we're seeing some increased maturity following his loss to the Angels when they stole five bases off of him and Wakmatsu chided him in the media after the game game and had a private meeting the next day.
"I saw a difference when we talked to him after the Anaheim game," Wakamatsu said. "I think it just struck a nerve with him about going out and competing the right way. Ever since then, he comes ready to pitch, he's focused."
Call it a challenge if you will.
We talked about it since spring training, everyone talks about how good he can be," Wakamatsu said. We talked about our expectations and his expectations now. It has a lot to do with the little things -- controlling the running game, becoming more efficient, it's not just going out and competing. It's trying to be more intelligent. And from that point, I've seen a different pitcher. I've seen a guy that comes out and is ready to compete for his team. It's tough for a 23 year old, to ask him to mature over night."
Since the Angels game, which is five starts, Felix is 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA (3 ER, 37.2 IP) with 34 strikeouts.
There was no doubt Wakamatsu was going to let him pitch the ninth. Felix had only thrown a 100 pitches, but when he walked Kevin Kouzmanoff with two outs, Wakamatsu was going to take Hernandez out if he hadn't retired Brian Giles to end the game.
Hernandez of course had other ideas.
When asked about if he knew he needed to finish Giles or risk coming out, Hernandez snapped his head around.
"Huh? Huh? Hell no," he said with a grin. "Not till I was ready."
So there were no looks to the dugout in the ninth inning?
"For what?" he said. "Nobody was going to take me out. Nobody."
Well, Ok, Felix.
The offense wasn't great. Gutierrez seemed pleased with his home run over the 401 foot sign. Well as pleased as the laid back Gutierrez can seem.
"I think that is as far as I have hit one," he said. "In this park, I heard that the ball doesn't carry. I surprised myself. It was good to hit home run in that situation. It put the team up by one run."
He also made a fantastic catch in the seventh inning to rob Chase Headley of a run scoring double at least.
"It was outstanding," Hernandez said. "He's the best in center field. He's great. He's got a lot of range."
Said Gutierrez: ""It was a tough play. I was playing him pretty shallow and he hit it good. I was trying to there as quick as I can and make the catch."
Here's a few notes ...
Adrian Beltre has an eight-game hitting streak and is hitting .371 with seven doubles, three HR and 15 RBI over his last 23 games.
The Padres have now lost their last 12 straight interleague games and six straight against Seattle.
Here's a few other notes from Elias
* Padres opponents have tossed back-to-back complete games for the first time since 2002 (8/18-19) – Ohka and Colon for Montreal.
* It is the first time the Padres have been limited to two hits since 7/29/08 vs. Arizona…it's the first complete-game two-hitter against SD since 6/17/07 (Zambrano) in a 1-0 Padres win at Chicago.