Felix Hernandez didn’t get the win on Sunday at Tropicana Field, but he should have. The Mariners’ ace struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven shutout innings, yet took a no-decision for his brilliant effort. It was another example of how misleading the win-loss stat can be for a starting pitcher. But always a team-first guy, Seattle’s 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays made him just as happy. The pitching duel between Hernandez and hard-throwing Chris Archer was as advertised. The Mariners finally broke a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth inning, scoring five runs off Rays closer Grant Balfour to pick up their seventh victory in nine games. “It was one for the purists,” M’s manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It was a great game, and the good guys came out on top.” The Mariners (33-29) are four games above .500 for the first time since 2009. The late rally was ignited by the unlikeliest of people — Brad Miller. The young shortstop came into the game carrying an anemic .169 batting average. But he looked like the Miller of last year, hammering a line drive down the right-field line just out of the reach of a leaping James Loney. He was thinking triple the whole way. “That felt pretty good,” Miller said. “We were just scratching and clawing. I saw it get down in the corner. I didn’t break stride and went for it.” With Miller on third, Willie Bloomquist coaxed a walk from Balfour to bring Endy Chavez to the plate. The veteran outfielder, who was just called up a few weeks ago, punched at an 0-2 cut fastball, squibbing a soft liner just past Yunel Escobar at shortstop to put the Mariners up 1-0.
Felix Hernandez strikes out career-high 15 in Mariners’ 5-0 win over Rays
Seattle Times | Jun 9