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April 16, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Rangers 3, Mariners 2 — another Felix Hernandez gem is wasted

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Note: I was reminded that videos can only be around two minutes in length. 

BOX SCORE … 04.16.14 Box Score

So the starting pitching showdown was overshadowed by a ninth inning meltdown and Felix Hernandez’s gem of a starting performance results in a no decision for him and a loss for the Mariners.  If it feels like you’ve heard this story before, you have. I’ve written it before. The names are just different.

Brad Miller made a costly error and closer Fernando Rodney struggled with his command, wild pitching the tying run across the plate and giving up a walk-off single to Leonys Martin in a brutal 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

“That’s baseball,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Those things happen. Over the course of a 162-game schedule, you are going to win your share of those and you are going to lose your share of them. When you are on the losing end, it never feels good. Like I told my guys, ‘turn the page, get ready for tomorrow.’”

Up 2-1 and with two outs, Rodney gave up a single to Kevin Kouzmanoff and then walked Mitch Moreland. It appeared the Mariners had sealed the win when pinch hitter Donnie Murphy bounced a routine ground ball to Miller. But Miller bobbled the ball and then tried to make a hard underhand toss to Robinson Cano at second base. It was high, forcing Cano to leap off the back to catch it and allowing Moreland to slide in safe.

“Once I bobbed it, I was thinking second was my best option,” Miller said. “It kind of ran up on me and I went to get it to him and threw it too high. I saw it was high off the get-go.”

With Martin at the plate and the bases loaded, Rodney threw a fastball by Zunino to the backstop that let Kouzmanoff sprint home to tie the game.

“We were going for a fastball away and it was just pulled across his arm,” Zunino said of the inside pitch.

Martin won it moments later with a bloop single into left, setting off a wild celebration at Globe Life Park.

While McClendon implored his players to “turn the page.” It won’t easy for Miller, who held himself responsible.

“That sucks,” Miller said. “Everybody did their part, but me. That’s tough. I have to make that play next time. It came down to me and I messed it up.”

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Yet another brilliant Hernandez outing was wasted like so many before. I know it makes you cringe.

But Hernandez wouldn’t point any fingers of blame. He never does.

“It’s a tough loss for us, but what can I say, it’s baseball,” he said.

Hernandez pitched seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts.

That one run came in the eighth inning when he gave up a lead-off triple to Leonys Martin. Many people are unhappy with McClendon for pulling him.

“I had talked to him before (the eighth) and he said he thought he had a little left in the tank,” McClendon said. “But he got that fastball up and he started to lose his location a little bit. And he said he was pretty much out of gas.”

Hernandez admitted he was fighting fatigue.

“I was a little tired,” he said. “I made one mistake in the game and that was the pitch to Leonys.  It’s always hard coming out when you want to be out there as long as you can.”

Otherwise, the start was pure precision.

Hernandez allowed just two runners to reach second base.

It the 67th start since 2009 where Hernandez has allowed one run or less in seven or more innings pitched. The next closest is Cliff Lee with 56.

“These guys had my number the last few games,” Hernandez said. “I wanted to come out focused.”

Darvish was almost as good. He pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

In three starts and 19 innings pitched, Darvish has allowed just two runs. Meanwhile, the Rangers have scored just two runs in his three starts and he’s never pitched with a lead in a game.




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