Thursday, May 29, 2014
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Hernandez Just Misses Shutout As M's Top Angels

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[May 29, 2014]  SEATTLE -- The customary habit for Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez in recent years was to pitch eight quality innings, go into the dugout and tell his manager that he had enough.

He had different plans Wednesday.

After pitching eight shutout innings and allowing just two hits, Hernandez told manager Lloyd McClendon that he had enough in the tank to finish off the ninth.

In the end, he ran out of gas but still got the win, 3-1 over the Los Angeles Angels, on a night when both starters came within an out of pitching complete games.

Seattle got all the offense it needed from catcher Mike Zunino's three RBIs.

Hernandez gave up one run on four hits in 8 2/3 innings, but the one thing he couldn't do was finish the deal. A two-out RBI double from Angels first baseman Albert Pujols in the top of the ninth inning ended Hernandez's shutout bid and prompted McClendon to make a call to the bullpen.

"One out away," Hernandez said while shaking his head after a 116-pitch night. "But that's fine. That's fine."

Hernandez (7-1) came within two strikes of a shutout, which would have been his first since August 2012. Closer Fernando Rodney wound up retiring the final batter to earn his 13th save of the season.

"I know people get caught up in nine-inning shutouts," McClendon said, "but I get caught up in wins."

Hernandez struck out nine while issuing two walks.

Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson (6-4) allowed three earned runs on five hits and came within an out of an eight-inning complete game. He was pulled after drilling Mariners outfielder Stefen Romero for a two-out hit-by-pitch in the eighth.

"I made enough good pitches to go deep in the game," Wilson said, "but not enough to win the game."

The one player Wilson couldn't solve was Zunino. The Seattle catcher drove in two runs with a two-out single in the second inning before adding a solo home run to lead off the eighth.

"If you let the same guy beat you twice in a game, that's my mistake," Wilson said. "I gave him chances to do it tonight."

Zunino went into the game in an 0-for-10 slump, and he had just three hits in 18 at-bats during the current homestand. After his 2-for-3 night, he said waiting for Wilson's fastball was the key to his success.

Said McClendon: "He had a big night. The kid did all right tonight."

The Angels (29-23) are now 2-6 against the Mariners this season.

Seattle (26-26) won for the fifth time in a row when Hernandez stared. He won each of his past four starts and pitched eight or more innings in each of his past three.

"He was phenomenal," McClendon said. "Right from the start, he had great command of his pitches."

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Hernandez was particularly effective with his fastball, which topped out at 95 mph throughout the game.

"I've still got it," Hernandez said. "I don't always throw it, but I've got it."

Angels designated hitter Raul Ibanez, who went 0-for-3, said it was a fairly typical performance from Hernandez.

"He was throwing a lot of strikes, and a lot of quality strikes," Ibanez said. "He's got a lot of weapons, and he made it hard on us."

Hernandez retired the first nine batters he faced, five by strikeout, and Zunino gave him a 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run single in the second inning.

Hernandez faced 13 consecutive batters without allowing a hit before Angels center fielder Mike Trout got a two-out single off him in the ninth. Pujols followed that with the double that brought in Los Angeles' only run.

NOTES: The Angels announced that LHP Sean Burnett would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Burnett was injured in Tuesday's win over Seattle, less than a week after he returned from missing a year following Tommy John surgery. He is likely to undergo a second Tommy John surgery. ... Los Angeles recalled RHP Matt Shoemaker from Triple-A Salt Lake, with plans on making him Thursday's starter at Seattle. Shoemaker replaces LHP Wade LeBlanc, who will remain in the bullpen as the only southpaw reliever after Burnett went on the DL. ... The Mariners signed veteran OF/1B Xavier Nady to a minor league deal. Nady, released by the Padres in April, will report to Triple-A Tacoma. He eventually could become an option in Seattle's search for a DH to replace injured Corey Hart. ... Angels OF Josh Hamilton (thumb) could be back at Salt Lake to resume his rehab assignment this weekend, manager Mike Scioscia said. Hamilton took 100 swings before Wednesday's game. ... Mariners RHP Taijuan Walker, the organization's top prospect and a likely candidate to join the rotation when he is healthy, made his long-awaited rehab debut Wednesday at Tacoma. Walker gave up four runs and five hits, including two home runs, in three innings. He is working his way back from shoulder stiffness that kept him out of spring training.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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