Felix Hernandez continued his string of dominating starts and Kyle Seager had three more hits and started three double plays as the Mariners launched a five-game road trip through Toronto and Pittsburgh with a 4-0 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Center. Hernandez threw eight shutout innings and allowed only five hits, mezmerizing the Blue Jays while lowering his ERA from 1.90 to 1.60.
The Mariners, coming off back-to-back series wins against the L.A. Angels and Baltimore Orioles, scored three runs in the fourth and added another in the sixth. That was all Hernandez needed to improve to 4-2. He allowed five hits, struck out seven, walked none and threw 63 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Over his past four outings, Hernandez has a 0.56 ERA.
Closer Tom Wilhelmsen came on in the ninth inning and retired the Blue Jays without allowing a hit as the Mariners improved to 14-17. Wilhelmsen, 8-for-8 in save opportunities, was not in a save situation. Seattle has recorded five shutouts this season.
The Mariners staked Hernandez to a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Seager hit his fourth homer of the season with Michael Saunders aboard, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead, and Dustin Ackley drove in Kendrys Morales with a run-scoring single. Ackley went 2-for-4, lifting his batting average to .255.
Jayson Bay’s third home run of the season off Aaron Loup gave Hernandez a 4-0 lead in the sixth inning.
“It was just the result of doing everything right and getting a good swing,” Bay told Root Sports.
Hernandez cruised the rest of the way until giving way to Wilhekmsen in the ninth.
NOTES: The Mariners made a minor tweak to their rotation for the Toronto series, pushing No. 2 Hisashi Iwakuma from Sunday to Saturday and moving No. 3 Joe Saunders, originally scheduled to start Saturday, to Sunday. The Mariners wanted to give Iwakuma, who normally starts after Felix Hernandez, an extra day off and moved him to Sunday. But the blister on his pitching hand has responded to treatment, so he’s been moved back to his regular turn.