Seattle’s Hernandez Outduels Cleveland’s; Mariners 5, Indians 1
By Christian Petrila
In a battle of two Hernandezes, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez outlasted Cleveland’s Roberto Hernandez as Seattle won the second game of the three-game series, 5-1.
Expecting an encore performance from their star ace, 39,204 fans packed Safeco Field only to see Felix Hernandez’s bid for a second perfect game end after the very first batter. Jason Kipnis laced a single under the glove of Justin Smoak at first. A Shin Soo Choo one-out single made it runners on first and second. The rally was killed when Carlos Santana grounded into a double play.
After going 4.2 innings of not allowing a hit and only a single baserunner via a walk, Roberto Hernandez finally surrendered a hit that broke up the no-hitter and the shutout. Eric Thames launched a hanging changeup deep into the seats in right field.
The Indians finally got on the board in the seventh. After Choo grounded out, Santana laced a single to center. Michael Brantley then laced an 0-2 fastball for a single into right that moved Santana to third. Casey Kotchman was up next and he hit a grounder that skipped off the lip of the grass and jumped over the glove of Brendan Ryan at short. Santana scored to tie it up. The Indians had a great chance to take the lead after Hernandez fired a pickoff throw to second into center field that allowed Brantley to move up to third. However, Brent Lillibridge wasn’t able to get down a squeeze bunt and Brantley was tagged out in a rundown. Lillibridge would strike out to retire the side.
Seattle responded before Hernandez could record a single out in the bottom of the frame. Michael Saunders walked on four pitches and moved to third when Kyle Seager singled to right on a ball that Kotchman narrowly missed on a dive. Hernandez’s night ended when John Jaso hit a ground-rule double that Lillibridge missed by mere inches in left. Esmil Rogers came in to face Jesus Montero, who opened the floodgates by unloading a three-run home run off the facing of the second deck in left. Rogers settled down and got Thames to strike out, Smoak to ground out to short, and after a Trayvon Robinson single, he got Ryan to strike out swinging.
Cleveland’s Hernandez finished with a line of six innings and four earned runs. He allowed three hits while walking and striking out two.
Seattle’s Hernandez didn’t finish the eighth, but he still put together an impressive effort. He went 7.2 innings while allowing just one run on seven hits. He also struck out five and walked one. It was good enough to receive a rousing ovation from the Safeco crowd.
The loss extended Cleveland’s losing streak to seven, while Seattle wins its seventh in a row. Cleveland drops to 54-69, while Seattle improves to 60-64.
The Indians will try to avoid the sweep on Wednesday when Zach McAllister takes on Hisashi Iwakuma. First pitch is at 3:40.