Felix bests Bumgarner for AL-best 10th win
SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez threw eight shutout innings to top Madison Bumgarner in a duel of aces at Safeco Field on Wednesday as Seattle beat the Giants, 2-0, in the opener of a two-game Interleague series.
Hernandez, who gave up eight runs in one-third of an inning in his previous start to the Astros, bounced back with a dominant effort as he allowed four hits with two walks and five strikeouts and became the American League's first 10-game winner at 10-3 with a 3.08 ERA.
"It was pretty good circumstances to do it," catcher Mike Zunino said of Hernandez's bounce-back win. "You know how Felix is. He loves to come out and the bigger the occasion, it seems the better he pitches. He did it once again. I think it's going to be a big momentum boost for this club."
Bumgarner was perfect through 4 1/3 innings, but gave up two runs in the sixth on an RBI triple by Austin Jackson, followed by a double by Robinson Cano. Bumgarner allowed just four hits and struck out nine in eight innings, but fell to 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA.
Bumgarner admitted that he maintained a sense of urgency about having to remain at his best against Hernandez.
"There's a little motivation because you know who you're going up against," Bumgarner said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A breakthrough off Bumgarner: The Mariners had managed just a bad-hop single by Mark Trumbo off.the Giants ace through five innings, but broke the scoreless tie in the sixth when Zunino singled and then scored on Jackson's triple to right-center on a ball just out of the reach of center fielder Angel Pagan, with Zunino sliding around a diving tag attempt by Buster Posey. Cano followed with his run-scoring double for a 2-0 lead, the first RBI by Cano in the past eight games.
"Pagan had a great read on it and almost got there," Zunino said. "In a situation like that, the way Bumgarner was throwing, you sort of have to roll the dice there. I knew that and once I saw it fall, I knew I had to get there, try to get a good turn at third and I knew it'd be bang-bang at the plate." More >
Untimely lapse: If there's a Giants pitcher who takes nothing for granted, it's the ultra-competitive, hyper-vigilant Bumgarner. But his sixth-inning trouble began with the single by Zunino, Seattle's ninth-place hitter who was batting .162 at the time. Entering the game, No. 9 hitters were batting .091 (3-for-33) off Bumgarner.
Closing time: Once Hernandez said he was done after eight innings, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon went to a matchup situation in the ninth. With Fernando Rodney now being used in a setup role after losing his closing spot, McClendon brought in southpaw Charlie Furbush to face lefties Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford and Furbush got two quick outs. Rookie right-hander Carson Smith then came in and struck out Matt Duffy for his third straight save.
Until that last out: Duffy was the Giants' top offensive performer, rapping a pair of singles to account for half of their hit total.
"He's playing great ball," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I just love the way he puts his nose in there and fights you every pitch."
Asked if the .294-hitting Duffy soon could be elevated in the batting order, Bochy said, "Oh, he'll get moved up. Trust me."
"I'll tell you what, if you didn't have a ticket to this one, you missed a dandy. It was outstanding. That crowd was electric. So was theirs." -- McClendon after winning in front of an announced crowd of 34,844 that included a large number of Giants fans.
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This is the earliest in a season Hernandez has ever recorded his 10th win, topping his previous mark of June 29, 2014. He's now tied Jamie Moyer for the club record with seven straight 10-win seasons.
Giants: San Francisco concludes its first Safeco Field visit since 2012 on Thursday behind right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. The 2011 National League All-Star has lost his last three outings and might need a strong performance to keep his spot in the starting rotation, with Jake Peavy and Matt Cain poised to be activated from the disabled list.
Mariners: Rookie southpaw Mike Montgomery (1-1, 1.89) will make his fourth start in place of injured James Paxton on Thursday when Seattle closes out the two-game set in a 7:10 p.m. PT start. Montgomery, acquired by trade from the Rays just prior to the season, is coming off his first Major League win as he gave up six hits and one run in six innings in an 8-1 victory in Houston. Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.