So some streaks came to an end.
Felix Hernandez made it just five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts. So his streak of starts of seven or more innings pitched and two runs or fewer allowed, ends at 16. That was just the second time he failed to go more than six innings this season. The other came on May 2 against the Astros.
With Felix’s streak snapped, it wasn’t surprising that the Mariners’ five-game winning streak was snapped as well.
And when Brandon Maurer allowed two runs in the seventh, the Mariners’ streak of 13 straight games of allowing three runs or less came to an end.
In the much-anticipated showdown between the two former Cy Young winners that drew a crowd of 43,833 – second largest of the season, David Price had the better showing, pitching eight innings, giving up just one run on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts to improve to 12-8 on the season.
Hernandez (13-4) wasn’t sharp early and had some of his focus misdirected by his anger with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.
Hernandez’s frustration started in the first inning. Miguel Cabrera asked for time out and it was given as Hernandez was in mid-wind up on a 1-2 pitch. Hernandez held himself up and skipped off the mound, but he was clearly miffed that Cabrera was granted his wish.
“A little bit,” Hernandez said.
It also irked manager Lloyd McClendon, who let Randazzo know his displeasure with the situation.
“Yeah, I wasn’t happy,” he said.
It was during that exchange that Randazzo motioned to McClendon that he’d had enough.
Hernandez then gave up back-to-back singles to Cabrera and Victor Martinez before getting out of the inning.
The tension with Randazzo grew in the second inning when J.D. Martinez stole second base on a pitch that looked like a strike (no. 4 above) that was called a ball. Later in the inning, Hernandez threw a slider near the outside corner that was also called a ball, which had the Mariners’ dugout barking comments toward Randazzo. Moments later Randazzo ejected McClendon, who was sitting in the dugout.
The Mariners’ manager was not pleased and charged from the dugout to have some words with Randazzo about his ejection.
“He thought it was me that was saying something and it wasn’t me,” McClendon said. “That probably upset me more than anything. And then when I went out there to ask him why I was thrown out, he said, ‘well, I’ve seen your act before.'”
McClendon’s past tirades with the Pirates are the stuff of Youtube legend. But this was just his fourth ejection of the season. He’s mellowed considerably and tried to put that in the past.
“I don’t think that’s called for,” he said. “That’s not fair. If you think I said something about a ball or strike, then throw me out of the game. I get that. But talk about past history, that’s not fair.”
Martinez would later score on a fielder’s choice to give the Tigers’ a 1-0 lead.
Through the frustration, Hernandez never could find a rhythm. He threw 28 pitches in the second inning and was at 49 pitches after the first two innings.
“In my opinion, Felix is one of the best pitchers on the planet and he’s a strike thrower and he doesn’t walk anybody and he’s at 47 pitches in the second inning,” McClendon said. “That’s tough.”
Hernandez has prided himself in keeping his emotions and temper in check as he’s matured. But even he yelled at Randazzo after missed call on a strike and then waved his glove at Randazzo after striking out Ian Kinlser to end that second inning.
So what was going out there with Randazzo?
“That’s a good question,” Hernandez said dryly. “What was going on? If you seen that game, you probably know what happened.”
It wasn’t just the calls that bothered Hernandez but that they were extending innings.
“I was throwing a lot of pitches in the beginning of the game,” he said. “That was the key right there. I had too many pitches and I was out in the fifth.”
His teammates tied the game in the fourth inning. Austin Jackson got the Mariners’’ first hit of the game off Price, doubling to right-center. He moved to third on Dustin Ackley’s deep fly ball to center field and scored on Robinson Cano’s hard hit ground ball to first base.
But that was all the offense Seattle would muster against Price. He got into a spot of trouble in the eighth inning, loading the bases with a pair of walks and a single from Logan Morrison with one out. But he came back to strike out Jackson and got Dustin Ackley to ground into a force play to end the inning.
“David threw a tremendous game,” McClendon said. “He’s a big-time pitcher. He was around the plate and made some good pitches.”
The Tigers took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Nick Castellanos led off the inning by swinging at he first pitch he saw from Hernandez – a fastball up in the zone – and belting it over the wall in left field for his 10th homer of the season.
“It was right down the middle and up,” he said.
Hernandez took a hard ground ball off the hip later in the inning off the bat of Kinsler. And with 92 pitches after five innings, McClendon decided it was enough.
Hernandez said the hip was sore but it won’t be an issue.
“I’ll be fine,” he said.
As for the record setting streak coming to an end, Hernandez shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s over,” he said. “I just have to start a new one.”
Detroit tacked on two more in the seventh inning off of reliever Brandon Maurer with Torii Hunter and Martinez coming up with RBI singles to put the game pretty much out of reach.
The Mariners cut the lead to 4-2 in the ninth, getting a pinch hit RBI single from Endy Chavez off of beleaguered Tigers’ closer Joe Nathan.
Here’s Austin Jackson’s at-bat in the eighth with bases loaded. Pretty tough called strike there.