ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Felix Hernandez had no doubt that with the command he had on all his pitches, he would get his first career complete game.
The 20-year-old right-hander threw 94 pitches en route to a four-hitter, and the Seattle Mariners parlayed consecutive fielding errors by Angels pitcher Jeff Weaver into three fifth-inning runs to beat Los Angeles 6-2 on Sunday.
Hernandez (6-6) made just 29 pitches from the fourth inning through the seventh. So by the time the ninth inning came around, he was still 24 shy of his season high of 108.
“If I wasn’t going to finish this game, I was never going to finish another game in my career,” a smiling Hernandez said through a translator. “I had every single thing working for me out there. I used every one of my pitches, hit both sides of the plate really well and could do whatever I wanted. The curve ball I had today was the best I’ve had all season.”
Hernandez won his third straight outing, striking out nine and walking none in his 25th career start and first against the Angels.
“It’s tough when you’re seeing somebody for the first time,” Angels leadoff hitter Chone Figgins said. “You can watch a little bit of video, but that’s about it. He threw a lot of stuff for strikes and stuck with his game plan.”
Hernandez gave up a first-inning run on Orlando Cabrera’s RBI single, then retired his next 17 batters before Cabrera led off the seventh with a double and scored on Garret Anderson’s sacrifice fly. Cabrera had three of the four hits Hernandez allowed.
“As the game went on, he got stronger,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “I thought he really turned it up a notch in the eighth and ninth and probably threw his best breaking balls in those two innings. They put a lot of balls in play early in the count because he was throwing strikes. He wasn’t necessarily pitching to stay away from contact, but when he had the hitter in a position where he could strike him out, he did.”
Jeremy Reed and Raul Ibanez homered and Adrian Beltre had a two-run single for the Mariners, who have won nine of their last 11 games after losing six straight. The three-game sweep was their first against an AL team since Sept. 12-14, also against the Angels at Seattle. The Mariners swept an interleague series at home against San Diego May 19-21.
The two-time defending AL West champion Angels are last in the division with a 27-35 record, 2 1-2 games behind the third-place Mariners and six behind first-place Texas. They have lost 11 of their last 14 meetings with Seattle and seven of nine this season.
Weaver (3-9) was charged with four runs—two earned—and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander is 1-5 with a 6.56 ERA in 10 career starts against the Mariners. The only victory came on Aug. 16, 2000 at Seattle while pitching for Detroit.
The game was tied 1-all in the fifth when Weaver’s glove betrayed him. He fielded Yuniesky Betancourt’s sacrifice bunt with plenty of time to get the force at third against Reed—but dropped the ball, bringing Ichiro Suzuki up with the bases loaded and none out. Suzuki hit a simple comebacker that Weaver misplayed for his second error, allowing the go-ahead run to score, and Beltre drove in two more with a single to left for a 4-1 lead.
Weaver trudged back to the dugout at the end of the inning carrying his glove in his hand, and flung it at the bench as he approached the top step.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had two errors in one season, let alone one inning,” Weaver said. “I had two plays to get me out of the inning, and I made the mistake of trying to make the throw before I made the catch.”
The Angels have committed 47 errors, tying them with Toronto for the most in the AL. They have allowed 43 unearned runs, the most in the majors—and only two fewer than they allowed all last season, when they had the second-fewest errors in the league (87).
Ibanez made it 6-1 in the seventh with his 12th homer and second of the series, a two-run shot off Hector Carrasco. It was his 100th career hit against the Angels, the first team Ibanez has reached triple digits against. … Reed has just three home runs since Aug. 19, 2005, all of them at Anaheim. He hit only three in his first 620 big league at-bats before homering in consecutive games against Angels right-handers Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey on May 12-13. … Jose Lopez had two infield hits and Rivera had one, raising Seattle’s AL-leading total to 69.