December 22, 2014

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Mariners ace Felix Hernandez shuts down Indians

Fans in the "King's Court" section hold up "K cards" as they cheer for Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez against the Indians Sunday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Fans in the “King’s Court” section hold up “K cards” as they cheer for Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez against the Indians Sunday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE — Cleveland Indians left-hander T.J. House threw one bad pitch to Robinson Cano.

When Felix Hernandez is throwing for the opposing team, one bad pitch can be enough to lose a ballgame.

Cano hit a two-run homer off House in the sixth inning, and the Indians managed just one hit Sunday in a 3-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Hernandez, nicknamed “King Felix,” allowed one hit in eight innings — a single by Lonnie Chisenall in the fifth — and struck out nine. Fernando Rodney earned his 23rd save with a perfect ninth inning.

“I thought T.J. was really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “On a lot of nights, we are out here bragging about his outing. Because of the way Felix Hernandez threw, any mistake makes it really difficult to win that game.”

After a shaky first inning when he got out of a bases-loaded jam, House (0-2) settled in and retired 13 of the next 14 batters.

Michael Saunders led off the sixth with a chopper up the first-base line that House fielded and threw past first baseman Nick Swisher and up the right-field line. Saunders took third on the error and brought Cano to the plate.

House left a pitch over the plate for Cano, who ended an 0-for-14 skid with a drive into the right-field seats.

“He’s a good hitter. I made a bad pitch and he hurt me on it,” House said. “I hurt myself there making that error and then giving up that two-run homer to Cano. I’ve got to do better than that.”

Cleveland’s hitters couldn’t provide any support against Seattle’s ace. Chisenhall’s chopper through the infield was all they could muster against Hernandez (10-2).

“If (Cano) makes a spectacular play right there, it’s a no-hitter against us,” Chisenhall said. “Fortunately, he didn’t. We weren’t able to get anything going.”

Hernandez didn’t give up a hit through the first four innings, with a walk to Michael Brantley giving Cleveland its only baserunner.

“Felix is great,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I don’t have the adjectives to explain it anymore. It’s just unbelievable.”

It’s the first one-hitter thrown by the Mariners since Hernandez and Steve Delabar combined to one-hit the Minnesota Twins on May 5, 2012. It was the first time Cleveland had been held to just one hit since July 27, 2011, against the Los Angeles Angels.

Josh Tomlin threw a one-hitter to beat the Mariners Saturday night.

“He threw his breaking ball and his change-up early in the count and was able to throw that fastball late,” Seattle catcher Mike Zunino said of Hernandez. “It’s just tough when you’ve got four pitches and guys have to respect it, you’re not always going to pick right. He’s doing a good job of mixing up and then making the pitch, too.”

“I think they were sitting on my change-up with two strikes. We struck out a lot of people with the fastball,” Hernandez said.

“The command of the fastball was really good. Mixed it up with my breaking ball for a strike and change-up was good, too.”

Cano singled to lead off the eighth and scored on a single from Mike Zunino to give the Mariners an insurance run.

Notable

  • Hernandez surpassed Indians great Bob Feller (1,836) for the sixth-most strikeouts in a career before a player’s 29th birthday. Hernandez’s nine strikeouts Sunday give him 1,840 for his career.
  • Cleveland pitchers had their streak of 15 consecutive scoreless innings snapped on Cano’s homer in the sixth inning. They had held Seattle scoreless since the eighth inning of Friday night’s game.
  • The Mariners optioned OF Stefen Romero to Triple-A Tacoma after the game to open a roster spot.

TONIGHT
WHO: Cleveland vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
TIME: 10:10
WHERE: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
PITCHERS: Kluber (7-5, 3.09 ERA) vs. Haren (7-4, 3.83)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM

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