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Felix Hernandez knew he let an opportunity slip away. His team gave him a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning and he couldn’t make it hold up. He gave the three runs back in the fifth and then watched as the bullpen gave up a run in the eighth and a two in the ninth as the Mariners lost 6-3.
It was the seventh straight start that Hernandez has failed to register a win against the Rangers. The Mariners have lost his last four starts against Texas.
Hernandez knew he squandered an opportunity to change that trend.
“It’s frustrating,” Hernandez said. “It can’t happen again. They gave me three runs and I blew it. That not’s good.”
The game started off with some promise for the Mariners (9-14) as they got that 3-0 lead.
So what happened in that fifth inning?
It was a very non-typical stretch for Hernandez. He gave up three straight singles to start the inning.
“They were swinging at the first pitch and I made a mistake and left pitches in the middle of the plate,” he said.
From there, he walked the No. 9 hitter – Robinson Chirinos – on four pitches to score to score a run.
“I don’t even remember the last time I walked somebody on four straight pitches with bases loaded,” he said.
Michael Choice followed with an RBI single to left and Elvis Andrus drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Hernandez was able to settle down and get Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre to ground out to end the inning and limit the damage. But it was clear as he trudged off the mound to the dugout he was angry with himself.
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The Mariners probably should have given Hernandez more than a 3-0 lead. They missed some opportunities. The most frustrating aspect for McClendon was the fourth inning. After Zunino hit his sac fly, the Mariners still had runners on first and third with one out. But Brad Miller swung at the first pitch and popped up and Michael Saunders struck out looking.
“It was very disappointing,” McClendon said. “I thought that was deciding inning for us as far as the ball game was concerned. We certainly had the opportunity to blow it open right there and didn’t get it done.”