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Felix comes out on wrong end of pitchers' duel

Right-hander bested in matchup of former Cy Young winners despite 7 strong innings
June 15, 2018

SEATTLE -- The Mariners got a very good outing from Felix Hernandez on Thursday. But the Red Sox got an even better one from David Price as Boston topped Seattle, 2-1, in a battle of former Cy Young Award winners at Safeco Field.The loss snapped Seattle's four-game win streak and

SEATTLE -- The Mariners got a very good outing from Felix Hernandez on Thursday. But the Red Sox got an even better one from David Price as Boston topped Seattle, 2-1, in a battle of former Cy Young Award winners at Safeco Field.
The loss snapped Seattle's four-game win streak and dropped the Mariners a half-game back of Houston in the American League West at 44-25 after a dozen days either tied or atop the division.
The Mariners played it close, as is their habit, with Hernandez (6-6, 5.44 ERA) throwing seven innings of two-run ball in one of his better outings of the year. But Price (8-4, 3.76) was up to the challenge, as he allowed just one run on five hits in his own seven-inning stint.
"That was a pretty good game on both sides," said Hernandez. "This was a big game for us. You're playing a playoff team and we're in the race, too. We lost, but it was a great game."
Hernandez lasted just three innings his last outing in Tampa Bay, so the veteran right-hander was encouraged by his bounceback effort against one of the top offensive clubs in the Majors.
"The fastball command was a big thing for me," he said. "And the emotions. I just have to go out there and be me, be aggressive, do whatever is possible to just keep us in the game."

Xander Bogaerts' solo homer in the sixth proved the difference as the Red Sox won their fourth straight to stay on the heels of the Yankees in the AL East at 48-22.
The Mariners have won 20 of their past 26 games, but are just embarking on 10 straight games against the Red Sox and Yankees.
Ryon Healy went 2-for-4 for Seattle, but the Mariners managed just a lone run on a sacrifice fly by Guillermo Heredia in the fifth and never advanced another runner past first base until leadoff walks by Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz off closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

But Kimbrel struck out Kyle Seager and got Healy to hit into a double play to finish things off. The Mariners still lead the Majors in one-run wins at 21-10, but saw their streak of victories in their past five one-run decisions come to an end. Seattle also snapped a seven-game winning streak at Safeco Field, where they've now won 14 of their last 17.
"It was a tough night for us to get much going," Seager said. "That's baseball. That's why it's a crazy game. Sometimes things work for you, sometimes they don't. We didn't put as much pressure on them as we'd have liked, but you have to give them credit. They threw the ball really well."
Seager doesn't steal a lot of bases. His last one came on Aug. 4 of last season, when he totaled two for the year. But Seager came up with a timely theft in the fifth inning as he took off when catcher Christian Vazquez tried to pick him off second on an aborted sacrifice bunt attempt. Seager wound up motoring into third without another throw, then scored on the sacrifice fly by Heredia to tie the game at 1. It was the first time Seager has stolen third base since April 29, 2014, at New York.

"Not exactly how we drew it up, but I'll take it," said Seager. "That's probably about the closest thing to a stolen base I'm going to get this year. I have a pretty firm red light, so I'm pretty sure I didn't help my case getting any green lights today."
The one run was Seattle's lowest-scoring output in its past 22 games, since a 1-0 victory over the A's on May 23.
"The whole thing with Felix, he has to pitch with that kind of intensity and fire. When he does that, he's really good. When he pitches with that kind of energy, the rest of our team feeds off it. And everybody in the ballpark does, really. That's Felix Hernandez. That's why he is who he is and that's what he's got to continue to bring out there, whether we're home or on the road or whoever we're playing. We're going to need that the rest of the way." -- Mariners manager Scott Servais
James Paxton (6-1, 3.02 ERA) faces Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello (8-3, 3.54) in an excellent pitching matchup in Friday's 7:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field. Paxton is 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA over his last eight starts, including a no-hitter, and is coming off his fifth double-digit strikeout game. The big lefty is 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA in three career starts against Boston.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.