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Felix Hernandez dominates Blue Jays to lead Mariners to 4-0 win
Felix Hernandez dominated over eight innings, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out seven as the Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-0.
Special to The Seattle Times
M's @ Toronto, 10:07 a.m.
TORONTO — Felix Hernandez is on his game. His mound opponent on Friday night, left-hander Ricky Romero, is trying to find his game.
It was no contest.
Hernandez dominated over eight innings, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out seven as the Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 before a crowd of 23,779 at Rogers Centre.
It was the third win in a row for Hernandez (4-2) and, including the no-decision before those wins, he has 35 strikeouts in his past 30 innings.
"You get to do a lot of watching," said third baseman Kyle Seager, who hit a two-run homer off Romero in the fourth. "It's awesome. He's special, you get a couple of runs and he does the rest."
Jason Bay also homered for the Mariners (14-17), hitting his third of the season in the sixth against reliever Aaron Loup to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Seager's homer was fourth of the season. He also had his third three-hit game of the season by adding two singles as well as starting all three of the Mariners' double plays, including one off a line drive by Maicer Izturis in the eighth. It came as Toronto (10-20) had runners at the corners with none out after Adam Lind doubled and Colby Rasmus singled.
After snaring the ball, Seager doubled up Rasmus at first base to help snuff the potential rally.
"We were fortunate where Seags was playing," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Not much the guy on first can do about that. He's taking the secondary lead. Heads up by Kyle."
Added Seager: "That`s a tough read for a base runner. Any time you see a ball on a line drive, your first reaction is to go, and he stopped right away. But that's a tough read and I was fortunate enough to double him up. ... he wasn't that far off."
But the night as a whole belonged to Hernandez.
"I'm being aggressive and throwing a lot of strikes, and that's the key for me," he said after lowering his earned-run average to 1.60. "Get ahead of the hitters and make my pitches. I had a good sinker and we got a lot of double plays."
"He just takes care of business," Seager said. "He goes out there, and the last couple of games especially, throws strikes. ... There's really nothing he can't do on the mound."
Hernandez made just 95 pitches, but stayed off for the ninth that was left to Tom Wilhelmsen.
"He was done, he'd had enough," Wedge said. "I went down and talked to him a little bit."
Romero (0-1) was making his first major-league start of the season after staying in Florida to work on his mechanics following a spring training in which he struggled with his command.
Romero matched Hernandez through the first three innings, allowing only one hit, but allowed three runs in the fourth on two hits, three walks and a hit batter.
He got a force-out at home after Jesus Montero's comebacker got him on the left forearm. Romero finished the inning, but his night was done.
"That fourth inning just kind of got away from me a little bit," Romero said. "I got hit by that ball and it hit me in a pretty good spot, so I had to come out of the game."
He also had difficulties with a callus on a finger of his pitching hand.
It was the fifth shutout of the season for the Mariners and the third time the Blue Jays have been shut out this season as they struggle offensively.
"Well, you look at it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said, "we get (Jon) Lester, (Clay) Buchholz, Felix tonight and (Ryan) Dempster was good (Thursday) night. That's a big part of it, no question about it. Three of those guys are the top guys in the game right now."
|Getting on a roll|
|After starting the season 8-15, Mariners have won six of eight.|
|April 25||M's 6, Angels 0||Offense comes alive, highlighted by Carlos Peguero's 451-foot shot|
|April 26||Angels 6, M's 3||Aaron Harang's ERA climbs to 11.37, starter lasts only three innings|
|April 27||M's 3, Angels 2||Felix allows one earned run and five hits over eight innings|
|April 28||M's 2, Angels 1||Bay, Morse homer as M's win first 4-game series over Angels since 2003|
|April 29||M's 6, Orioles 2||Michael Saunders returns to lineup, hits homer on 2nd pitch of game|
|April 30||Orioles 7, M's 2||Rookie Brandon Maurer gives up four runs in the first inning|
|May 1||M's 8, Orioles 3||Harang pitches well as Mariners complete 5-2 homestand|
|May 3||M's 4, Blue Jays 0||Felix pitches 8 scoreless innings; M's win for fifth time by shutout|