The Cincinnati Reds couldn’t get much going offensively in their last game and fell out of first place in the NL Central.
Hernandez looks to build off his latest start as he takes the mound for the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night against the Reds, losers in four of five.
The Reds (37-31) were dominated by Cliff Lee(notes) in a 1-0 loss to Seattle (26-41) in the opener of this three-game series Friday night, dropping them one-half game behind division-leading St. Louis.
It was the second time in four games the Reds have been shut out and the fourth time in five they were held to three or fewer runs. They managed only six hits against Lee, who struck out seven without a walk.
The loss dropped the Reds to 13-33 on the West Coast the last four years, including a 1-3 mark in Seattle.
Cincinnati has another difficult assignment Saturday against Hernandez (4-5, 3.61 ERA), who recorded his second win in three starts Sunday against San Diego. He gave up two runs and four hits over 8 2-3 innings while striking out a season high-tying nine in a 4-2 win. He was pulled after a career-high 128 pitches.
“Four hits tells you what kind of stuff he had,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “But to get deep in the game, you have to get ahead of the hitters. I thought he attacked the zone.”
Hernandez, a 19-game winner last season, has pitched at least eight innings in three of his last four starts and has given up two or fewer earned runs in four of his past five outings.
The right-hander hopes to continue his interleague success in his first appearance against Cincinnati. He is 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 17 starts versus NL opponents.
Lee’s superb outing gave Seattle back-to-back wins for the first time since a three-game streak June 1-3. The Mariners, losers in 10 of their last 14 games, have scored eight runs over their past four contests.
The rookie right-hander gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 win over Kansas City on Sunday.
“I plan to play this game a long time, and if I want to be considered legitimate, then I have to prove I can beat those guys,” LeCure said.