M's finish sweep of Orioles
SEATTLE (AP) - The numbers were tossed out immediately: 9-0 in his last nine decisions, 17th consecutive quality start dating back to last season.
Felix Hernandez quickly stopped all the accolades from being recited.
"Why you tell me that?" Hernandez joked. "Don't tell me that."
Even on a night where King Felix wasn't his best, Seattle's ace was plenty good enough to keep Baltimore reeling.
Hernandez threw the eighth complete-game of his career, limiting Baltimore to a lone unearned run and getting enough offense from Jack Wilson's bases clearing double to give Seattle a 4-1 win on Wednesday night.
The three-game sweep completed a 7-2 opening homestand for Seattle, while Baltimore continued on its early downfall, dropping to 2-14, the worst start for the franchise since losing their first 21 games in 1988 to set a major league record.
Hernandez (2-0) wasn't as sharpest or overpowering as he's been before, but Seattle young star was extremely efficient. He allowed nine singles, struck out six and didn't walk a batter. When baserunners reached, Hernandez was helped by two key double plays early.
Hernandez's performance capped a sterling series for Seattle's starters. It began when Doug Fister took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Monday night's victory. Jason Vargas followed on Tuesday by allowing just one run in seven innings.
"These guys have been unbelievable," Hernandez said.
And now comes news that former AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee is set to make his Seattle debut on April 30 against Texas.
Wilson's three RBIs matched his season total entering the game.
While it was all smiles for the surging Mariners, the Orioles were left to lament what next. Manager Dave Trembley popped off about his team's effort before Wednesday's game after having a closed-door meeting with his players. Before the game, Trembley said he was done covering for those making mistakes.
Afterward his players were looking for answers.
"It's not like we've played horrible and got our butts kicked every night," said Baltimore starter Kevin Millwood, who threw a complete-game in the loss. "We actually haven't played that bad. We just haven't been able to put a full game together. It looks really bad, but I don't think it's as bad as it looks."
Wilson's two-out hit was his fourth double in the last three games, and the three RBIs matched his season total entering the game.
While Wilson got the big blow, the hustle of Matt Tuiasosopo kept the inning alive. Tuiasosopo singled off Millwood (0-3) with two outs to load the bases as Jose Lopez wisely was held at third base.
Rob Johnson, who had Seattle's first hit off Millwood, chopped a grounder back up the middle that was cut off near the outfield grass by second baseman Justin Turner. Instead of trying a difficult throw across his body to get Johnson, Turner made an underhand flip to shortstop Cesar Izturis covering second.
Tuiasosopo hustled and slid his foot into the bag ahead of the ball, scoring Lopez and tying the game at 1-1. Wilson then followed with a drive to deep right-center.
"That changed the whole game," Wilson said. "The ball gets hit and you think they're out of the inning and next thing you know (Tuiasosopo) makes a big play, gets everybody pumped up, gets me pumped up to go to the plate."
Despite not being at his finest, Hernandez glided through the Orioles. He entered the ninth at just 94 pitches and rarely faced trouble. Baltimore put runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth, but Hernandez got Ty Wigginton to pop out, adding to Wigginton's two double plays earlier.
Hernandez struck out six in his first complete-game of 2010. His last one was Sept. 18, 2009, a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.
"It's nice when you have your No. 1 pitcher do that, step up, and it constantly gives you that believe system for future games," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "And maybe the message is the efficiency. We'll let you pitch."
The Orioles only run came after Tuiasosopo booted Nick Markakis' first inning single, allowing him to reach second. Matt Wieters then followed with an RBI single.
Millwood was Hernandez's equal except for the fourth inning when Seattle sent 10 batters to the plate. Millwood had walked just one batter in 18 2-3 innings entering the night, but allowed three free passes in the fourth inning alone. He gave up six hits and struck out four.
Millwood set down 11 of the final 13 batters he faced, but lost for the sixth time in his last seven starts at Safeco Field. It was his 21st career complete game.
NOTES: Lee will throw a rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday. ... Former Mariners' star prospect Adam Jones finished the series 0-for-12 for Baltimore. ... Johnson stole the third base of his career in the third inning on a botched hit-and-run attempt.
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Montnz lf 4 0 2 0 ISuzuki rf 3 0 0 0
Wggntn 3b 4 0 0 0 Figgins 2b 3 0 0 0
Markks rf 4 1 3 0 FGtrrz cf 4 0 0 0
Wieters c 4 0 1 1 JoLopz 3b 3 1 0 0
Scott dh 4 0 0 0 Ktchm 1b 4 1 2 0
AdJons cf 4 0 0 0 MSwny dh 4 0 0 0
Atkins 1b 4 0 2 0 Tuiassp lf 4 1 1 0
Turner 2b 3 0 0 0 RJhnsn c 3 1 2 1
Reimld ph 1 0 0 0 JWilson ss 2 0 1 3
CIzturs ss 3 0 1 0
Totals 35 1 9 1 Totals 30 4 6 4
Baltimore 100 000 000 - 1
Seattle 000 400 00x - 4
E-Wigginton (3), Figgins (2), Tuiasosopo (1). DP-Baltimore 1, Seattle 2. LOB-Baltimore 7, Seattle 6. 2B-J.Wilson (5). SB-Ro.Johnson (1).
IP H R ER BB SO
Millwood L,0-3 8 6 4 4 3 4
F.Hernandez W,2-0 9 9 1 0 0 6
HBP-by Millwood (J.Wilson).
Umpires-Home, Bill Miller; First, Chad Fairchild; Second, Mike Reilly; Third, Eric Cooper.
T-2:08. A-18,401 (47,878).