OAKLAND -- Felix Hernandez has endured a number of narrow losses in his 12-year tenure with the Mariners due to lack of offense, so you can't blame the 30-year-old ace for relishing a dramatic 9-8 win over the A's on Wednesday when his team took him off the hook for a likely loss with its late-game heroics.
"This is baseball. It was a crazy win for us," Hernandez said after winding up with a no-decision in a game in which he gave up eight runs (four earned) in four-plus innings. "It was unbelievable. I love my teammates. They did a great job today."
Hernandez got knocked out in an odd fifth inning when he didn't record an out after being hurt by a series of singles and two critical errors, including one on himself.
"That was a weird inning," Hernandez said. "It was crazy. But I should have pitched better and got out of it."
After back-to-back singles by Yonder Alonso and Marcus Semien to lead off the inning, Hernandez didn't help himself when he fielded a bunt by Billy Burns, looked to third and then threw late to first as the speedster reached to load the bases on what was ruled a base hit.
Jed Lowrie then drove in a run with an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-3. When Josh Reddick nubbed a ball back toward the mound, Hernandez charged the high hopper, but saw it bounce off his glove as the tying run scored.
"It came up a little on me, but I should have made that play," Hernandez said. "I hurried it a little bit."
Then things went completely south as Khris Davis laced a hard grounder at Kyle Seager, but the ball scooted under the third baseman's normally sure glove as he charged and two runs scored on the error. Vidal Nuno replaced Hernandez at that point and allowed two inherited runners to score on a pair of singles by Billy Butler and Chris Coghlan, putting Hernandez's final line at four earned runs and nine hits as his ERA jumped from 1.38 to 2.21.
"You go through the whole inning. [Ketel] Marte just misses a line drive, there's a soft single, the bunt play he takes too much time, and the comebacker, there were some things that got away from him," said manager Scott Servais. "It wasn't the normal Felix today, on top of his game like he can be. I thought when we put the four-spot up there that would kind of energize him a little bit, but he just wasn't on top of his game."
Hernandez thus remains tied with Jamie Moyer for the franchise record of 145 wins, but he was thrilled to have the team come out on top in this one as the Mariners swept the A's and have now won six straight series to take the American League West lead.
"It's good, man. These guys have been unbelievable," Hernandez said. "We've got a good chemistry, the guys are coming into the clubhouse and having fun. And we're getting the job done every time we go out there."