9:35 p.m.: Quite a job by Felix Hernandez tonight, shrugging off that 34-pitch sixth inning and working into the eighth. The Marlins added a run in the seventh to make it 5-4. But Hernandez carried on through, getting up to 107 pitches before that one-out walk to Jeremy Hermida ended his night. Sean Green came on and got a huge strikeout on Jorge Cantu, while Arthur Rhodes whiffed Mike Jacobs to end the threat.
I’m going to miss Arthur Rhodes when he’s traded at the deadline.
Anyhow, a fine, workhorse effort from Hernandez tonight. Especially after that rough, 34-pitch inning. We don’t see many starters work into the eighth after an inning like that, do we? Do we? No, we don’t. But that’s what being a staff “ace” entails. Hernandez is getting there. Showed me a lot tonight, despite the four runs against.
On to the ninth.
8:55 p.m.: We’ve got a ballgame here, at 5-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Felix Hernandez ran into all kinds of trouble in the sixth, giving up singles to Matt Treanor and Alfredo Almezaga, then an infield single to Hanley Ramirez that loaded the bases with none out. Jeremy Hermida then singled up the middle to bring one run in and Jorge Cantu added a sacrifice fly for the second run. Hernandez then nailed his toughest out of the inning, catching Mike Jacobs looking at a 3-2 slider for out No. 2. Dan Uggla then whiffed, also at a full count pitch, to end the inning with two on. Those were two tough batters for Hernandez to face and he got them both. That’s nine strikeouts for Hernandez, none bigger than those with the tying run on base.
8:30 p.m.: Seattle added another run in the fifth inning off Scott Olsen, chasing him from the game after singles by Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson. Beltre has a three-hit night, though the second of those likely should have been a fielding error. Olsen yielded 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Reliever Logan Kensing came in the game with two on and immediately snared a Kenji Johjima grounder. But Kensing threw the ball away at second, allowing an unearned run to score and make it 5-1 for Seattle.
Felix Hernandez ran his strikeout streak to six in a row in the top of the inning before Luis Gonzalez grounded out. But Hernandez then struck out his seventh batter out of eight to end the inning. Hernandez has retired 11 in a row as we begin the sixth.
8:13 p.m.: Felix Hernandez now has some room to work with after his team smoked an average-looking Scott Olsen for two more runs in the fourth inning. The Mariners did the little things right that frame. One key was Yuniesky Betancourt getting down a bunt — remember what happened last Saturday — with two on and nobody out to advance the runners to second and third. Ichiro then delivered a sacrifice fly to right to bring Kenji Johjima home. Willie Bloomquist, who’d singled earlier in the inning, advanced to third on the play and wound up scoring on a Jose Lopez double to left. So, it’s now a 4-1 game. Olsen has been getting written up in national publications lately for his “turnaround” season, but he looks very hittable tonight. Nine hits in four innings by the M’s so far.
7:58 p.m.: Felix Hernandez is on fire right now, having struck out the last five batters he’s faced to carry a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the fourth inning. The club record, by the way, is seven straight K’s by Mark Langston in 1984. Hernandez has set down nine batters in a row since the Dan Uggla homer in the second. Seattle had a chance to add to its lead in the third inning, putting two on with two out, but Richie Sexson grounded out to end the rally. Who’d have guessed?
7:32 p.m.: Florida just got a run back in the top of the second inning as Dan Uggla unloaded on an 0-1 offering from Felix Hernandez and sent it screaming beyond the fence in left field. The ball hit a rear staircase leading up to a higher deck well past the wall, so it was a shot. Mariners still lead, 2-1.
7:26 p.m.: Don’t adjust your reading glasses, the Mariners have a lead! They scored a pair of runs on four hits off lefty Scott Olsen in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead after an inning of play. Ichiro got things going with a single to right, then scored on a Jose Lopez double to the left field corner. Adrian Beltre then singled — with a RISP at that — followed by a single from Raul Ibanez that brought home the second run. Seattle did leave two on with one out after that as Richie Sexson popped out to first base and Kenji Johjima grounded into a fielder’s choice. But it’s a lead nonetheless.
Felix Hernandez retired the side 1-2-3 on two ground balls and a pop-up in the top of the first. A better start for the Mariners than they had last night. They haven’t got the fever yet.