Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
August 11, 2014, Seattle, WA (ISN) – Felix Hernandez made it 16 games in a row where he has held a team to 2 runs or less through 7 innings and received a 7-run outburst from his offence in the 6th inning, as the Seattle Mariners beat up on a sluggish Toronto Blue Jays squad 11-1 Monday in front of 41,168 fans – most of them rooting for the Jays – at Safeco Field in Seattle.
Felix Hernandez was his masterful self Monday, holding the Jays to just 3 hits while striking out 8 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Hernandez was no match for the sleepy Jays, holding them to just three hits and striking out eight while walking none over his 7 innings of work. The Jays, who were coming off a 19-inning marathon with Detroit Sunday and then a 5-hour plane ride to the west coast, could only muster a pair of hits by Colby Rasmus, one of which was a double, and a monster home run by Jose Bautista, his 23rd of the season, which came in the 4th inning and briefly gave the Jays a 1-0 lead.
In the lone bright spot for the Jays, Jose Bautista watches his 4th inning home run sail over the left field fence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Very briefly, as Seattle would score a pair in the bottom of the 4th when Cano walked, Kendrys Morales doubled, Kyle Seager scored Cano with a sacrifice fly to deep center and Zunino followed with a bloop RBI single just inside the right-field line.
The Mariners would then blow it wide open in the 6th, thanks in large part to the electrifying play – both figuratively and literally – of Robinson Cano, who began the outburst with a lead-off, opposite field home run over the left-field fence – his 10th of the season, and later in the inning, after a large bolt of lightning and clap of thunder briefly disrupted his second at bat of the inning, lined a bases-loaded double off the fence in left-centre to score the Mariners final two runs of the inning.
Seattle’s Robinson Cano was a force to be reckoned with Monday, homering and doubling in another run to lead the M’s offence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Other highlights in the big 6th included a RBI triple from catcher Mike Zunino – his second hit of the night , an RBI double from Eddy Chavez, also his second hit of the night, an RBI-triple from Brad Miller and an RBI single from Dustin Ackley.
Seattle’s Eddy Chavez slapped this ball down the third base line for a 6th inning double, scoring Mike Zunino from third (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison bore the brunt of the Mariners offensive attack, surrendering six runs in total, on 7 hits in 5.2 innings of work.
Brad Mills came in to relive in the middle of the disastrous 6th and was tagged with 5 runs on three hits, as he closed out the game, likely to give the Blue Jays bullpen as much rest as possible.
Toronto’s Brad Mills would give up 5 runs on 3 hits in relief of Drew Hutchison (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Joe Beimel and Danny Farquhar pitched an inning each of relief for the Mariners.
For Hernandez, now 13-3, his 16 game streak is now 3 more than the previous MLB record and during that time, he has a record of 9-2. Also during Monday night’s game, he surpassed 2,000 innings (2,005 to be exact) and became the youngest pitcher to reach the 2,000-inning milestone since Dwight Gooden did it as a 28-year-old in 1993.
Seattle’s Kyle Seager awaits his turn at bat (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Mariners win moves their record to 63-55, but they still sit a game back of, now, the Tigers, who have fallen to second behind the Royals for the lead in the AL Central. The Blue Jays are now two back at 63-57 and the Yankees another game behind at 61-57.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez leads the American League with a 13-3 record and a 1.95 ERA. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Mariners win spoiled the night for the large contingent of Blue Jays fans that had travelled to Seattle from all parts of Canada (see related article), but they did their best all night to keep the Jays motivated and the battling cheers of “Go Jays Go!” and “Go Mariners Go!” made for a great atmosphere at the park.
The Jays and Mariners are right back at it on Tuesday night at 7:10 pm with the Mariners’ Chris Young (10-6, 3.27 ERA) set to take on the Jays J. A. Happ (8-6, 4.09 ERA).
Game Notes: The Mariners improve their Monday record to 13-1 on the season and move to a 26-14 record in the first games of a series. They are also now 13-5 when wearing their teal green jersey. The Mariners have now won 5 of the last 7 games against the Jays at Safeco Field.
Christian J. Stewart is a regular contributor to ISN. Follow him on Twitter @cjs_photography and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/christianjstewartphotography and look for more of his Seattle Mariners photography at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/seattlemariners