Hernandez helps Mariners past Blue Jays
TORONTO (AP)—If Felix Hernandez(notes) had a Cy Young vote, he’d cast it for Kansas City’s Zack Greinke(notes). The batters who faced Hernandez on Thursday night might find it difficult to vote for anyone but the Seattle ace.
Hernandez (17-5) allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in eight innings to improve to 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander, a candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, also moved to 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 18 road starts.
“Felix was absolutely tremendous,” Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. “I thought the first couple of innings, that’s as good of stuff as I’ve seen him have.”
Hernandez credited an on-form changeup for his high strikeout total.
“The strikeouts, everything was changeups,” Hernandez said. “It was unbelievable today. First time I’ve had a changeup like this.”
Hernandez, who has two starts remaining, said he’s not thinking about his Cy Young candidacy. But he likes Greinke, who has won four straight decisions after losing five of six.
“I’d vote for Greinke, he’s doing a great job.” Hernandez said. “He’s tough, he’s nasty.”
Wakamatsu wouldn’t hesitate to vote for Hernandez.
“I’d vote for Felix, without a doubt,” Wakamatsu said. “I don’t know if anybody has impacted the club this year greater than he has. You’ve got to remember, too, he’s 23 years old.”
“That’s a big two-out hit, especially at that time,” Wakamatsu said. “I don’t think you can have a more timely hit.”
Coming off a complete-game victory against the New York Yankees, Hernandez cruised through the first five innings, allowing just two hits, but he got into trouble when his defense let him down in the sixth.
Leading off the inning, Aaron Hill(notes) reached second on third baseman Beltre’s error. Adam Lind(notes) singled and Wells ripped the next pitch, a hanging slider, over the wall in left for a three-run homer, his 15th.
Seattle designated hitter Mike Sweeney(notes) left with a bruised big toe after taking a pitch off his right foot in the second. Sweeney stayed in initially and ran the bases, eventually scoring on Tuiasosopo’s fly ball to center.
“I could hit, I just couldn’t run,” Sweeney said.
NOTES: Seattle 1B Russell Branyan(notes) (back) took batting practice for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 29. Branyan, who hit off a tee Wednesday, did not take grounders. … The Blue Jays turned four double plays. … Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan(notes) (shoulder) is throwing as far as 115 feet on flat ground and is expected to throw off the mound next week. “He’s letting it fly,” general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. … Blue Jays minor league catchers J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman are injured and will not play in the Arizona Fall League. Arencibia recently underwent kidney surgery and Jeroloman needs hip surgery.