Felix Hernandez lacked a finishing kick at the end and as a result, the White Sox scored twice in the top of the eighth to cut Seattle’s lead to 6-4. Hernandez had allowed just a walk since Alexei Ramirez’s single in the second inning and had faced the minimum 17 batters between that and another Ramirez single to start the eighth. But Tyler Flowers followed with a double to right center to bring home a run on Hernandez’s 108th pitch, which prompted Eric Wedge to lift him in favor of southpaw Oliver Perez.
Alejandro De Aza promptly singled to bring in another run — the fourth charged to Hernandez — and all of a sudden, things were looking dangerous with Alex Rios, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn just a couple of batters away and only one out.
But Perez got out of the jam from there with a 6-4-3 double play grounder by Gordon Beckham, leaving the Mariners three outs from victory. Would have liked to see Hernandez do a better job of finishing the job. So far, though, it looks like he did enough.
8:15 p.m.: The Mariners added three more runs in a third inning that had just about everything and saw them up their lead to 6-2. Raul Ibanez drove in two more runs with a double to right field that ended the night for White Sox starter Jake Peavy at just 42 pitches. A trainer came out to look at Peavy but we have no word yet on whether he suffered an injury.
Right after that, Nick Franklin hit a drive to right off relief pitcher Brian Omogrosso that struck the yellow line atop the wall and came back on to the field of play. The home run signal was given, so Franklin slowed up and was tagged out at second base.
But after the White Sox argued, the umps went to video replay and saw the ball in fact did not leave the yard. Then, they awarded Franklin a double — it’s in their discretion to do so — and that ruling incensed Chicago manager Robin Ventura, who argued unsuccessfully that it should have been limited to a double. The decision was big, since the double allowed Ibanez to score from second.
7:49 p.m.: Felix Hernandez gave up a one-out solo homer to dead center by Adam Dunn to start the second inning. It was Dunn’s 13th homer this season and cut Seattle’s lead to 3-2. The Mariners got a leadoff single by a slumping Michael Saunders in the bottom of the inning, but came up empty from there.
7:33 p.m.: The Mariners just picked Felix Hernandez up big, scoring three times in the bottom of the first inning for a 3-1 lead. Endy Chavez reached on a bloop single, took second and then third base on flyouts and later scored on a Kendrys Morales single. Raul Ibanez then stepped up and his his 11th homer of the season just beyond the right field wall.
Hernandez needed that. Now, he has to hold the lead.
7:19p.m.: Felix Hernandez gave up a leadoff single to Alejandro De Aza and that’s bad news because he runs real fast. De Aza took third on a single to right by Gordon Beckham, who was caught in a rundown trying to advance when the throw back in was cut off. De Aza then scored on a groundout, so the White Sox already lead it 1-0.
6:55 p.m.: This came up for discussion this morning, but the Mariners really need the “ace” version of Felix Hernandez to show up tonight. There have been some other games a couple of weeks back and earlier this season when Hernandez brought less than his “A” game to the mound.
And tonight, with the Mariners up against it, they need to maximize this shot at victory against a stumbling White Sox team.