But after six shutout innings of a game the Mariners would go on
to win 12-5 over the Tampa Bay Rays, Hernandez fell apart in the
seventh. He gave up three consecutive singles to start the inning,
then a two-out, three-run double to Ryan Hanigan before being pulled
from the game. On his way to the home dugout, Hernandez put up yet
another milestone in a nine-year career that's been filled with
"I'm a pro baseball player now," he said. "First ejection."
Hernandez's profanity-laced tirade aimed at home-plate umpire Mark
Ripperger, who was standing a good 70 to 80 feet away behind the
third-base line, ended up being the lasting image of an otherwise
stellar night for the Mariners (20-18). Seattle piled up 14 hits,
including three home runs, on the way to a season-high 12 runs --
but it was Hernandez who made the most noise.
The 28-year-old pitcher, who improved to 4-1 with his first victory
since April 11, was in a jovial mood afterward despite the way his
night ended. He said that his frustration had been building
throughout the night and that a 2-1 pitch to Hanigan before the
three-run double -- it was called a ball, and Hernandez thought it
was a strike -- finally set him off.
"He's the umpire," Hernandez said with a shrug inside the Mariners
clubhouse after a three-hour, 10-minute game Monday night that saw
him give up four runs off eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. "He can
call balls; he can call strikes."
It was an unceremonious finish to a night that had started so well
for Hernandez. He threw six shutout innings before Tampa Bay's first
three batters of the seventh inning singled to load the bases.
Hernandez struck out the next two batters before Hanigan worked him
to a 3-1 count. A frustrated Hernandez then gave up the three-run
double and unleashed his anger on Ripperger for a pitch that he
thought should have been called a strike earlier in the inning.
"I'm sure he got his money's worth," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon
joked after the game. "I didn't understand everything (Hernandez)
said, but ..."
Remarkably, Tampa Bay starter Cesar Ramos matched Hernandez's
innings count on a night when it didn't look like the southpaw would
get out of the second inning. Ramos got tagged for eight hits and
eight runs in the first two innings alone and eventually fell behind
9-0, but manager Joe Maddon left him on the mound to preserve the
Tampa Bay bullpen. Ramos eventually settled down and threw 114
pitches over 6 2/3 innings. All 11 hits he surrendered came in the
first three innings, as Ramos (1-2) retired the final 12 batters he
faced. He was charged with nine runs, but only five of them were
earned -- thanks to four Tampa Bay errors in the early going.
Maddon didn't even get a reliever up in the Tampa Bay bullpen until
the seventh inning, and right-hander Josh Lueke ended up being the
only other Rays pitcher to see action in the game.
"Cesar was the ultimate professional," Maddon said after the game.
"He prevented us from having to use more bullpen people. A lot of
people don't understand that part of the game, but what he did was
Seattle piled up 14 hits and a season high of 12 runs in a game.
Rookie right fielder Stefen Romero led the way by going 3-for-5 with
a double, a home run and three RBIs. His solo shot in the bottom of
the eighth inning ended a four-inning scoreless draught after the
Mariners piled it on in the early going. First baseman Justin Smoak
added a two-run shot three batters later to extend Seattle's lead to
[to top of second column]
Catcher Mike Zunino also homered for Seattle.
Tampa Bay (16-23) lost for the sixth time in seven games while
allowing the most runs against a Rays opponent since losing 10-2 to
the New York Yankees on April 17.
Ramos gave up hits to the first four batters he faced as the
Mariners built a 3-0 lead before recording an out in the bottom of
the first. Things could have been even worse for the Rays had it not
been for two long fly balls off Mariners bats that bounced off the
top of the wall -- an inch or two from going over.
Second baseman Robinson Cano's deep shot to left field bounced off
the yellow stripe and back into play for an RBI double to give
Seattle a 2-0 lead, then designated hitter Corey Hart had his fly
ball to right do the exact same thing one batter later. Both hits
were reviewed and upheld as staying in the park. Hart's long drive
scored Cano from second but only resulted in a single as he was
thrown out at second base, where he stood in shock because Hart
thought he had hit a two-run homer.
Things didn't get much better for Ramos in the second inning, as
Zunino led off by hitting a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence for
a 4-0 Mariners lead. Tampa Bay went on to commit three errors in the
inning, including one by Ramos, as Seattle scored five runs in the
inning -- four of them unearned -- for an 8-0 lead.
"We had a chance to make that second inning less offensive, but we
didn't," Maddon said. "We just had a horrible second inning."
Through the first two innings, the Mariners had 13 baserunners by
way of eight hits, two walks, two errors and a fielder's choice.
Hart added a third-inning RBI, his second of the game, to extend
Seattle's lead to 9-0.
NOTES: Rays RHP Alex Cobb, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a
strained left oblique muscle, threw a 60-pitch simulated game in
Port Charlotte, Fla., on Monday. ... Monday marked the first time
since Aug. 15, 2012 that the Rays have faced Mariners RHP Felix
Hernandez. That date is significant because Hernandez threw the 23rd
perfect game in major-league history against Tampa Bay. ... Both of
the replay reviews in the bottom of the first inning took less than
one minute to complete. Hits by Mariners 2B Robinson Cano and DH
Corey Hart clearly bounced off the yellow stripe at the top of the
wall, although the home fans thought both of them were home runs.
... Tampa Bay had four errors in the first two innings alone,
including three in the second.
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