When the Seattle Mariners won on Brendan Ryan's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning, Felix Hernandez got a complete-game victory that was his second this season, the 15th of his career.
How good was Hernandez?
“Tonight, he was ordinary Felix - which is pretty damned special,” pitching coach Carl Willis said.
Hernandez is now 4-2 with a 3.02 earned run average, and said he was delighted by a crowd of 31,912 at Safeco Field.
"I like it when a lot of people come to the park," he said.
The Mariners scored their first two runs on RBI doubles from Milton Bradley and Justin Smoak, but got to the ninth inning tied at 2-2. An inning earlier, manager Eric Wedge made his first save of the season a big one.
With Chone Figgins at second base and one out, Bradley was called out on strikes as the runner stole third base – and Bradley disagreed with umpire Mike Muchlinski’s call.
Ejected immediately for R-rated, well, make that X-rated language, Bradley was screaming at the umpires back when Wedge got to the plate and grabbed his outfielder by the back of his jersey.
That jersey got stretched a long way, but Wedge held on, and Bradley didn’t make contact with Muchlinski. It was close.
As for Ryan's game-winner, he said he went from the on-deck circle to the dugout railing to ask Smoak about reliever Matt Thornton, whom he'd never faced.
“I’d only seen this guy on TV,” Ryan said. “I specifically remember him blowing fastballs by everybody. I wanted to make sure I was on the same page with my plan and with what Smoak saw. I wanted know how much he felt like that ball cut in on him so I could kind of set my eyes to where I want that slot to be for the pitch I want.”
“He just said that ball’s definitely cutting,” Ryan said.
Thornton threw a cut fastball, Ryan was ready and his single sent that crowd - and Felix - home happy.
“It sounds funny to say, because I’m his coach,” Willis said, “but I learn from Felix. I don’t know anybody else who can approach a hitter with as many options – he can make his ball move any way he wants it.”