The return of manager Eric Wedge couldn’t provide the jolt the Mariners’ bats needed Friday night, when another solid outing from the King wasn’t enough to beat the Los Angeles Angels. Felix Hernandez allowed three hits over six innings while striking out nine, but the hapless Mariners bats let him down once again in a 2-0 loss.
Hernandez’s only mistake came when Chris Nelson hit a 2-2 pitch over the leftfield wall for a two-run homer in the top of the second inning. That gave LA a 2-0 lead, and that turned out to be enough to end the Angels’ four-game losing streak.
“Just one pitch,” said Hernandez. “The change-up there, he was able to hit it, and he hit it out of the ballpark.”
Seattle (59-68) managed just five hits, four of which came against Angels starter Garrett Richards (4-5). The Mariners didn’t get a runner past first base until the sixth inning, when a one-out walk to Kyle Seager put runners on first and second before Kendrys Morales grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Richards cruised through 7.1 shutout innings before a Dustin Ackley line drive hit his right forearm and ended the right-hander’s night after 89 pitches.
The only loud cheers the Seattle offense heard came when the big screen in center field showed highlights of a Seahawks touchdown from the preseason game in Green Bay.
Hernandez (12-7) was coming off one of his worst outings of the season after Texas tagged him for five runs over five innings in a 15-3 drubbing in Arlington last Saturday. He bounced back with his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season despite a shortened outing after throwing 104 pitches over six innings.
It marked the 10th time this season that the Mariners have scored two runs or fewer in a Hernandez start.
“He threw a good ball game,” Wedge said. “He had to work a little bit at times. He gave us an opportunity to win, but we just didn’t get anything going.”
The performance took most of the electricity out of Safeco Field after Wedge made a successful comeback from a July 22 stroke. He was in the dugout for the first time Friday, yet the Mariners couldn’t ride his return to a victory.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak under Wedge, whose last game as a losing manager came on July 11 before the Mariners rattled off a season-long, eight-game winning streak. Under acting manager Robby Thompson, Seattle went 13-15.
“I wasn’t sure how my energy would be, but the energy was good,” Wedge said. “The focus was good. There just wasn’t a whole hell of a lot of action.”
Said Hernandez: “It was a little disappointing. I was trying to win this one for him.”