Surging Mariners rock Blue Jays
SEATTLE—For all that Felix Hernandez has done in his career, pitching meaningful games in the final two months of the season has been a rarity.
But with Seattle in the thick of the wild-card chase in the American League, Hernandez got the Mariners most anticipated home series since 2007 off to an electric start last night.
Hernandez tossed another gem—making his 16th-straight start of at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or less.
He needed just 96 pitches to get through seven and his only mistake was Jose Bautista’s solo home run in the fourth.
And he did it before a buzzing crowd of 41,168 as Seattle remained one game back in the chase for the second wild-card spot.
“That was unreal. That was pretty good,” Hernandez said.
“We’re fighting,” he added. “We’re going to continue to fight and do the little things.”
And for a change, Hernandez wasn’t left wondering if Seattle would score enough.
Cano ignited a seven-run sixth inning with his 10th homer of the season for a 3-1 lead.
That was just the start. Mike Zunino followed with an RBI triple before an RBI double by Endy Chavez ended the night for Jays’ starter Drew Hutchison (8-10).
Seattle’s biggest inning since an eight-run outburst May 3 against Houston was just getting started.
Brad Miller then lined an RBI triple before Dustin Ackley brought home two runs with a single.
Cano came up again and, after stepping out of the box while a lightning bolt and thunder crackled outside the stadium, just missed a second homer in the inning by inches with a RBI double off the wall.
“Everything I saw was away . . . so I was just trying to go the other way, but I wasn’t trying to hit a homer,” Cano noted.
A day after going 19 innings to beat Detroit at home and not arriving to Seattle until 12:30 a.m. (local time), Bautista’s 23rd homer was the only highlight for Toronto.
The only other Jay to get a hit was Colby Rasmus, who had two and is now 7-for-10 against Hernandez.
“King Felix” struck out eight, walked none, and lowered his ERA to 1.95 for the season.
Hernandez is 9-2 with a 1.41 ERA during the 16-game streak.
“With Felix out there, you give those guys a lead they put it away,” noted Jays’ manager John Gibbons.
Hernandez became the first pitcher since Dwight Gooden to reach 2,000 innings during or before his age-28 season.
Hernandez, 28, reached the mark when he completed the second inning.
J.A. Happ (8-6), who has thrown at least seven innings in each of his past two starts but has just one victory since June 26, gets the start for Toronto tonight.
He’s given up just three earned runs combined in his last two starts but the Jays have lost both games.
Chris Young (10-6), 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA in his last 10 starts, goes for the Mariners.
Young has reached 11 victories only twice in his career.
Elsewhere in the AL, Minnesota doubled Houston 4-2, Baltimore dumped New York 11-3, Tampa Bay blanked Texas 7-0, and Kansas City edged Oakland 3-2.
Over in the NL, L.A. beat Atlanta 6-2, New York downed Philadelphia 5-3, Miami topped St. Louis 6-5, Milwaukee shaded Chicago 3-1, and San Diego edged Colorado 4-3.
Pittsburgh dumped Detroit 11-6 in the lone interleague game.