Seattle Mariners

King Felix has rough start – but Seattle walks it off

bdutton@thenewstribune.com

Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin tosses his bat after hitting a walk-off homer in the 11th inning against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at Safeco Field in Seattle.
Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin tosses his bat after hitting a walk-off homer in the 11th inning against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at Safeco Field in Seattle. Seattle Times

The first session in the reconvened King’s Court didn’t start well Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez gave up a three-run homer in a testy first inning in his first start since May 27.

It ended in another walk-off victory.

Leonys Martin’s one-out drive in the 11th inning against Dan Jennings lifted the Mariners to a 6-5 victory over the White Sox.

“I knew it was going to go out,” Martin crowed. “You just have to trust your power, man. But with two strikes, I was just trying to get on base.”

It was Martin’s second homer of the game, his second walk-off homer of the season — and the Mariners’ sixth walk-off homer of the season, which ties a franchise record.

“That’s amazing,” Martin said. “It was a great comeback today, and we never gave up. We battled every single pitch.”

The victory enabled Mariners to salvage a 3-3 split in their homestand and climb back over .500 at 48-47. Vidal Nuno (1-1) got the victory after pitching a scoreless 11th inning.

Jennings (3-2) was the loser.

The Mariners won the series opener Monday when Adam Lind capped a four-run ninth inning with a three-run homer against White Sox closer David Robertson after managing only one hit against Chris Sale in eight innings.

On Wednesday, the Mariners trailed 5-2 when Chicago went to its bullpen after Miguel Gonzalez started the seventh inning by walking Lind.

The game turned.

Mike Zunino’s one-out homer against Zach Duke closed the gap to 5-4. The Mariners then loaded the bases with one out, but Duke escaped when Robinson Cano grounded into a double play.

The Mariners pulled even when Lind sliced a two-out homer in the eighth inning against Nate Jones.

Steve Cishek then worked around a two-on, two-out jam in the Chicago ninth inning by striking out Todd Frazier, who earlier hit a three-run homer against Hernandez in the first inning.

The Mariners nearly won the game in the 10th inning when Kyle Seager grounded a two-out double up the right-field line with Nelson Cruz at first base.

Cruz tried to come all the way around, but Adam Eaton made a strong throw to the plate for the out. That merely delayed the drama for another walk-off homer.

Hernandez was making his first start since May 27. There were no problems with his once-strained right calf muscle. But it wasn’t a smooth outing.

Hernandez opened the game by striking out Adam Eaton before giving up a bloop double to Melky Cabrera. After retiring Jose Abreu on a grounder to third, Hernandez jumped ahead 0-2 on Justin Morneau.

Hernandez then missed with four pitches, including a couple of borderline calls. He even began walking toward the dugout at one point and, after missing on a close 3-2 pitch, began barking at umpire Andy Fletcher.

“You know what happened,” Hernandez said. “You watched the game. It was a strike.”

He then floated a change-up over the middle of the plate on his first pitch to Frazier, who hit a drive to left.

Hernandez gave up five runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings.

  Comments