Final: SEA 3, OAK 1
This is what it looks like when baseball is done right. The infield is dry, the umpires are steady, and the King is on point.
Felix Hernandez was at his best for the Oakland A's this afternoon, pulling a no-hitter into the 4th inning. It was a pitchers' duel from the outset, with right-hander Dan Straily striking out four of the first six Mariners he faced. The two starters combined for 15 strikeouts while Straily kept Seattle scoreless through four innings. Felix denied the A's a run until the 9th inning, losing his shutout on a Jed Lowrie home run.
Lloyd McClendon was quick to reach for his closer when the game began to unravel in the 9th, but Felix made it out with a Game Score of 74, a feat he's accomplished or bested 54 times in his career. When he spoke to the press following the game, Hernandez mentioned that he was feeling good, which may be a variation on "I'm in the best shape of my life," but seems to mean more coming from Seattle's ace. "My arm feels really good," Felix told the Seattle Times. "I have all my pitches working. Just want the ball every five days."
Fernando Rodney recorded his first save on the back of Felix's outing, striking out both John Jaso and Josh Reddick to finish the 9th and preserve Seattle's two-run lead. I'm starting to anticipate his invisible arrow shot at the end of each game -- or, as Gampoo dubbed him, the Mariners' Legolas.
Behind Felix, the M's mustered up three runs of support off of the bats of Dustin Ackley and Abraham Almonte, who took Straily deep on home runs in the 5th. It was the first pair of homers the M's had put up this series and the first blasts of the season from both batters. Ackley is batting a cool .313/.389/.500 on the year, which means next to nothing at this point, but it's nice to see him sustain a little of the pop he showed in spring training. Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Kyle Seager, and Robinson Cano garnished the team's offensive power with a combined five hits, but none of them could capitalize on scoring opportunities to blow the A's away.
Tweet of the game
#Mariners now just fourth MLB team to open season year with five games of three or fewer runs allowed since '04.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) April 6, 2014
Tomorrow, the Mariners close out their Opening Week road trip with a final game against the A's. Erasmo Ramirez will take the mound against left-hander Tommy Milone at 1:05 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports and 710 ESPN.