Felix's one-hit gem cut short by cramps
ANAHEIM -- Felix Hernandez plays with emotion. But on Sunday, one reaction to a big double-play groundout by Mike Trout turned into something of a pain in the neck. Or side, to be more accurate.
Hernandez was battling his way through a 90-degree afternoon with a 1-0 lead against the Angels, having allowed just one hit, when he got Trout on a key twin killing in the sixth. But his pained reaction following that play led to manager Lloyd McClendon and trainer Rob Nodine hustling out to the mound.
And while Hernandez stayed in to get the final out, he was replaced the next inning and the Angels rallied against the Mariners' bullpen and handed Seattle a 3-2, 10-inning loss.
"It was hot," Hernandez said. "When I celebrated the double play that [Kyle] Seager and [Robinson] Cano made, I got a little cramp in my side. That had been bugging me a little bit and they were worried about it, but I said, 'No, let me finish this inning. Trust me and I'll be fine.'"
After Hernandez stretched his side and threw a couple of warmup pitches, McClendon left him in to retire Albert Pujols on a fly ball. But McClendon called it a day at that point for his 29-year-old ace, who'd thrown 96 pitches and seemingly would have had another inning left in him on a normal day.
Anything wrong with Hernandez?
"Other than heat exhaustion, nothing, no," said McClendon. "He was out of gas. It was a very difficult day. It was extremely hot out there. The conditions were tough. Felix gave me everything he had. He was done."
And despite the frustration of seeing the 1-0 lead slip away, Hernandez had no argument with that decision.
"He is always right," Hernandez said of McClendon. "I was a little tired. The weather was way too hot. I got a lot of cramps, in my legs, too. He made the right decision. It was just from the heat, yeah. There's nothing wrong with me."
The Angels made a similar decision with Hector Santiago, pulling him after seven innings and 93 pitches after he'd allowed just three hits and one run. But the Angels' bullpen won the final battle, even after Seager's solo homer off Huston Street sent in to the 10th.
With the tough no-decision, Hernandez is 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in his last nine starts against the Halos, and the Mariners are 8-1 in those games.
Hernandez gave up his only hit on a single by Efren Navarro with one out in the third. When Seager committed an error moments later, the Angels had two on and two out, but Hernandez got Calhoun to line out to Cano.
Hernandez also walked a pair of batters with two outs in the fourth, but again ended that threat with a groundout to second by Chris Iannetta. He said he tried to work quickly on the hot afternoon to preserve his strength, but the Angels took a lot of pitches and swung and missed enough to raise his pitch count.
"I was throwing a lot of strikes," he said. "When I walked two in the fourth, I don't know what happened mechanics-wise. But I made my adjustment and made good pitches after that."
Hernandez still hasn't lost at Angel Stadium since 2011, going 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 10 starts. But at 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA, he remains one win behind Major League leader Gerrit Cole of the Pirates on the season.