SEATTLE – Well, what’d you expect Wednesday night when the pitching match-up at Safeco Field was Felix Hernandez and Madison Bumgarner?
This was an absolute dandy and it turned, not surprisingly, on a defensive misplay. A catch that should have been made and wasn’t. The Seattle Mariners turned that into two runs.
And Hernandez turned that into a 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of a crowd of 34,844 on a gorgeous night.
The mistake came in the sixth inning after Mike Zunino pulled a one-out single through the left side – just the second hit against Bumgarner. Austin Jackson then sent a fly to deep right-center field.
Center fielder Angel Pagan appeared ready to make the catch, but he short-armed the ball at the last moment as Justin Maxwell closed from right field. The ball dropped untouched.
Zunino paused between first and second, expecting a catch, but third-base coach Chris Woodward, subbing again for an ailing Rich Donnelly, gambled on scoring a run.
The gamble paid off when Zunino eluded a sweep tag by catcher Buster Posey. Jackson wound up on third with a triple.
The Giants then shortened their infield for Robinson Cano, who took advantage by pulling a hard grounder past first base for an RBI double and a 2-0 lead.
After an intentional walk to Nelson Cruz, Bumgarner escaped further damage by retiring Kyle Seager on a fly to left before trapping Cano on an attempted steal.
The Giants had a chance to answer in the seventh after a one-out throwing error by a Cano and a two-out walk put runners at first and second. Hernandez stranded both runners by retiring Maxwell on a grounder to third.
Hernandez (10-3) and Bumgarner (7-4) each went eight innings. Both permitted just four hits.
The Mariners then turned to lefty Charlie Furbush for the first two outs in the ninth inning before summoning Carson Smith to secure the shutout and victory. Smith got his third save.
What a bounce-back effort by Hernandez, who was coming off that eight-run nightmare in the first inning last Friday in a 10-0 loss at Houston. He lasted just one-third of an inning; the shortest non-injury outing of his career.
There weren’t many loud outs in the early innings. Brandon Belt sent a deep one-out drive to right in the fourth that Cruz tracked down; and and Cruz ended the bottom of the inning with a deep drive to left.
The Giants, at least, managed some runners. Posey and Matt Duffy had soft line-drive singles in the second; Joe Panik had a one-out single in third; and Duffy led off the fifth with a single.
Hernandez pitched around it all.
Bumgarner retired the first 13 Mariners before Mark Trumbo hit a hard grounder to short that took a wicked hop on Brandon Crawford, who threw wildly to first after he recovered.
Trumbo wound up on second with a single and an error, but Bumgarner responded by striking out Logan Morrison and retiring Willie Bloomquist on a soft liner to first.
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