M’s pound Hamels

Seat­tle knocks out the Texas ace in the sec­ond in­ning

The Daily Herald - - BASEBALL -

SEAT­TLE — Let’s make it mul­ti­ple choice.

(A) La­bor Day at Safeco Field saw the Mariners turn in a full day of work Mon­day in a 14-6 thump­ing of the Texas Rangers. An early seven-run lead turned into a tight game be­fore the Mariners pro­duced a six-run sixth in­ning.

(B) La­bor Day at Safeco Field was like giv­ing birth Mon­day for two of the game’s top pitch­ers be­fore the Mariners fi­nally pulled away for a 14-6 vic­tory over the Texas Rangers. Ei­ther works. “We were win­ning the game the whole way,” Mariners sec­ond base­man Robin­son Cano said, “but we know what kind of team we’re fac­ing. We needed this. We kept fight­ing, and we scored more runs.”

It wasn’t as easy as the fi­nal score sug­gests.

The Mariners staked Felix Her­nan­dez (10-5) to a sev­en­run lead by scor­ing five times in the first in­ning be­fore knock­ing out Rangers starter Cole Hamels (14-5) in a two-run sec­ond.

Her­nan­dez gave back five runs in a 49-pitch third in­ning but worked into the sixth be­fore hand­ing an 8-6 lead to the bullpen. Nick Vincent, Evan Scrib­ner and Dan Al­tavilla recorded the fi­nal 10 outs with few prob­lems.

“I don’t want to talk about that (third) in­ning,” Her­nan­dez said. “It was my fault. That was a good game for us. Thanks to the of­fense, we won.”

There were times in the mid­dle in­nings when the Mariners ap­peared poised to blow a seven-run lead with their long­time ace on the mound. They had, af­ter all, lost eight of their past nine to the Rangers.

But they stead­ied with a six-run sixth in­ning against two rook­ies and an­other guy with 25 in­nings of big-league ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We needed it,” man­ager Scott Ser­vais said. “Those games are nice. Hope­fully, we get some mo­men­tum go­ing with it.”

The Mariners are, at this point, in no po­si­tion to be choosy. They had lost 10 of their pre­vi­ous 12 games, in­clud­ing three in a row last week at Texas. Their post­sea­son as­pi­ra­tions are on life sup­port.

By win­ning Mon­day, all they did was re­main five games be­hind Bal­ti­more and De­troit in the race for the Amer­i­can League’s fi­nal wild-card berth with 25 games re­main­ing.

The Mariners fin­ished with 14 hits, in­clud­ing three apiece from Franklin Gu­tier­rez and Je­sus Su­cre and a pair of two-out RBI sin­gles from Dae-Ho Lee. The right-handed lineup, for a change, packed a punch.

“We’ve talked about it,” Ser­vais said, “that when we’ve strug­gled against left-handed pitch­ing, Dae-Ho and Guti are the main guys. Guti has cer­tainly stepped up. He’s been our hottest guy here over the week to 10 days.”

The Mariners rocked Hamels for five runs in the first in­ning.

Guillermo Here­dia led off with a nine-pitch walk be­fore Cano, with out out, rocked a 423-foot homer to right field. Every­thing else hap­pened with two outs.

Kyle Sea­ger walked and stole sec­ond. Lee flicked an RBI sin­gle into cen­ter and went to third on Leonys Martin’s dou­ble past first. Lee and Martin scored on Su­cre’s sin­gle into cen­ter field.

The Mariners kept com­ing in the sec­ond in­ning.

Gu­tier­rez hit a one-out homer to right. Cano fol­lowed with a sin­gle, went to sec­ond on a twoout walk to Sea­ger and scored on Lee’s sec­ond two-out sin­gle.

That made it 7-0 and fin­ished Hamels.

“When you put your­self in a good count as a hit­ter,” Hamels said, “it’s a lot eas­ier to see the ball. I have to ex­e­cute pitches down in the zone. None of the pitches in the zone were down.

“They are the kinds of pitches that good hit­ters are sup­posed to hit. I didn’t al­low my­self to get away with any pitches be­cause I was throw­ing too many balls.”

A 7-0 lead for Felix seemed plenty — un­til he ran into trou­ble in the third in­ning af­ter is­su­ing two one-out walks. He showed frus­tra­tion at Dale Scott’s strike zone, but the PitchF/x com­puter sug­gested Scott’s calls were cor­rect.

“The um­pire (ticked) him off,” Su­cre said. “I told him, ‘You’re up 7-0 right here. Get back to your game.’ They were, maybe, off a lit­tle bit, but you’ve got to call those pitches.”

In­stead, Her­nan­dez fumed and made it worse. Af­ter a wild pitch moved the run­ners to sec­ond and third, No­mar Mazara hit a three-run homer — and the Mariners’ lead was down to 7-3.

Texas wasn’t done. Car­los Bel­tran reached on a two-out in­field sin­gle be­fore Adrian Bel­tre walked. Rougned Odor bat­tled through nine pitches be­fore punch­ing an RBI sin­gle into cen­ter.

Jonathan Lu­croy fol­lowed with an RBI sin­gle that made it 7-5 be­fore Her­nan­dez fi­nally ended a 49-pitch in­ning by re­tir­ing Mitch More­land on a fly to left.

“To be hon­est, I was (ticked),” Her­nan­dez said. “But you know what? I’m up 7-0. They gave me a lot of runs. I’ve just got to make good pitches.”

Her­nan­dez stead­ied over the next two in­nings, and the Mariners got one run back on Gu­tier­rez’s two-out RBI sin­gle in the fifth against Yo­han­der Men­dez, who was mak­ing his ma­jor-league de­but.

Texas coun­tered on Odor’s lead­off homer in the sixth, but the Mariners pushed back by scor­ing six runs later in the in­ning for a 14-6 lead. That’s how it ended.

ELAINE THOMP­SON / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Seat­tle’s Robin­son Cano blows a bub­ble as he rounds the bases af­ter hit­ting a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers on Sun­day.

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