We've come to expect greatness from Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, but he's been on quite a streak lately, and it continued Sunday as Hernandez pitched eight innings of one-hit ball in a 3-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Robinson Cano gave King Felix all the offensive support he would need with a two-run homer and Hernandez struck out nine in the victory. The game helped put Hernandez's dominating early season in better context both historically and for MLB's first-half honors.
''Felix is great. I don't have the adjectives to explain it anymore. It's just unbelievable,'' said Mariners first-year manager Lloyd McClendon.
While Masahiro Tanaka has gotten the most buzz of any pitcher in the AL this season, Hernandez has been just as good. He's now 10-2 with a 2.10 ERA — Tanaka has the same ERA, but with an 11-3 record. Hernandez is probably in line to start the All-Star Game and Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan named Hernandez the AL Cy Young winner for the first half in his latest column.
Historically, Hernandez put himself in elite company Sunday by pitching his ninth consecutive game in of at least seven innings while giving up two or fewer runs. In American League history, only Gaylord Perry has topped that, with 15 consecutive starts in 1974. You have to go back to May 12 to find a start in which Hernandez gave up more than two earned runs. He gave up four that day, the most all season for him.
KERSHAW BRILLIANT AGAIN, STRIKES OUTZ 13 CARDINALS
As good as Felix Hernandez was, Clayton Kershaw was baseball's K king Sunday. He struck 13 St. Louis Cardinals and ran his scoreless inning streak to 28, as his Los Angeles Dodgers blanked the Cardinals 6-0. The win capped a ridiculously good month for Kershaw, who has hit his stride after spending the first month of the season on the disabled list. He was 6-0 in June with an 0.82 ERA, and he threw his first career no-hitter.
Kershaw yielded five hits to the Cards on Sunday and walked two, which to a normal pitcher is like walking nine. His K/BB rate has been so good this season that he took Sandy Koufax out of the record books.
Strikeout No. 100 in 2014 for Clayton Kershaw. With 9, it marks the fewest walks at the time of 100 K in Dodger history (Koufax, 19 in '65).
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 29, 2014
Kershaw's stellar performance was important because ...
THE REDS NEARLY NO-HIT THE STRUGGLING GIANTS
The Cincinnati Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the downtrodden San Francisco Giants, and this one was another tough loss for the Giants. Reds' starter Homer Bailey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, then the Reds won 4-0 after scoring three runs in the ninth inning..
As you might recall, Bailey no-hit the Giants last season, and for a while, they looked doomed to repeat that history. Until Buster Posey broke up the no-no with two outs.
The Giants loss coupled with the Dodgers win means the two teams are tied atop the NL West, erasing San Francisco's 9 1/2 game lead in three weeks. Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown digs deeper into how the Dodgers surged and the Giants fell, and it's well worth a few minutes of your reading time.
BIG PAPI HITS HOMER NO. 450, AS RED SOX BEAT YANKEES
In the day's showcase game — ESPN's nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball — David Ortiz once again delivered on the big stage. The Boston Red Sox slugger hit a three-run homer to help power his team over the rival New York Yankees. The Red Sox won 8-5 and took the final two games of the three-game series.
Ortiz's homer gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead in the third inning and was the 450th of his career. He's 37th on baseball's all-time homer list. No. 450 put him ahead of Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero. He's now two behind Adam Dunn and Carl Yastrzemski.
For the rest of Sunday's results, check out our scoreboard.
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