Mariners 3, Rangers 1
SEATTLE (AP)—Felix Hernandez got a little extra out of his 2006 season.
The Mariners planned to limit the 20-year-old Hernandez to a total of 200 innings this year. He’d already pitched 184 during the regular season and 14 in spring training going into this final start, so the team planned to hold him to six innings—allowing for a few over the maximum.
“His pitch count was so low and he was throwing so effortlessly and hadn’t had really any tough innings,” said manager Mike Hargrove, who discussed Hernandez’s pitch count with general manager Bill Bavasi during the game.
Hernandez (12-14) allowed four hits and faced only one batter over the minimum through the first 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five.
Even a tweaked calf couldn’t stop Hernandez.
When the righty planted his right foot after his delivery to Michael Young in the fourth, Hernandez walked gingerly off the mound as he favored his left calf.
“It worried me a little bit,” Hernandez said.
After a huddle at the mound between Mariners personnel and Hernandez, he threw two practice pitches. Then he waved them off and got Young to ground out on the next pitch.
“Everybody talks about his potential to be a good pitcher,” Texas catcher Gerald Laird said. “He’s already a good pitcher. His potential is off the charts.”
Beltre hit a two-run homer with two outs in the third for a 2-0 lead. His drive scored Ichiro Suzuki, who had singled.
“It felt good—especially since it ended up being the winning run,” Beltre said.
Beltre’s leadoff home run in the sixth was his 25th shot of the season. He also connected Friday night against Texas.
“You have to hand it to Beltre,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s the best he’s done against us all year.”
This was Beltre’s second multihomer game of the season and 14th of his career.
Kevin Millwood (16-12) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. The righty struck out five.
Mark Teixeira hit his 33rd home run in the Texas seventh, sending a drive barely over the right-field wall.
Hernandez retired the first seven batters he faced before yielding an infield hit to Jerry Hairston Jr. Hernandez set down eight of the next nine batters before allowing another infield hit—Texas had three in the game—in the sixth.
“It’s just a glimpse of what’s he’s got for us,” Hargrove said.
Suzuki’s stolen base in the third was his 39th consecutive successful attempt, increasing his AL record. He hasn’t been caught stealing since April 16. … Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima’s single in the sixth was his 146th hit of the season. That ties him with Bill Rodgers (California Angels, 1962) for the most by a rookie catcher in AL history. … Texas LF Carlos Lee had his streak of 32 consecutive games of reaching base safely snapped. It was the longest active streak in the majors.