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OAK@SEA: Felix fans nine over 6 1/3 strong frames

SEATTLE -- On a bizarre Tuesday night at Safeco Field when Brendan Ryan wound up at third on an infield single and a fan dressed like Ichiro Suzuki later grabbed a ball down the right-field line while it was still in play, one very normal thing happened.

Felix Hernandez dominated the A's, as he's done throughout his career, en route to a 4-2 victory in which he shut Oakland out until third baseman Scott Sizemore's two-run home run on Hernandez's 114th and final pitch with one out in the seventh.

The reigning American League Cy Young winner gave up five hits and three walks with nine strikeouts while improving to 10-9 on the season. He is now 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in four starts against Oakland this season, and 12-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 21 career starts against Seattle's AL West rivals.

"He's got four plus-pitches," A's first baseman Conor Jackson said after an 0-for-3 night. "But as much praise as we can give him, we gotta beat him. We have to figure out a way to score runs against him, that's the bottom line. But he's one of the best for a reason."

Rookie left fielder Mike Carp ripped a two-run double in the first inning, and new left fielder Casper Wells -- acquired Saturday by trade from the Tigers -- launched a two-run home run in the sixth inning to provide Hernandez with some needed offense.

But this one had a couple very odd moments, both on and off the field.

Ryan, the Mariners energetic shortstop, caught the A's asleep in the infield in the first inning with some heads-up baserunning, as he wound up at third base without the ball ever leaving the hands of Jackson after he beat out an infield single to short.

Ryan noticed no one covering second as Jackson held the ball, so he steamed into second, then hopped up and hustled to third when no A's defenders moved over to cover that bag, either.

The official scoring on the play was a single, with the runner advancing to third on a fielder's choice.

"It's really just a wacky opportunity that presented itself, and I was just looking for the next bag and was able to get it," Ryan said. "I was dragging my shin guard around behind me and I didn't feel all that coordinated. Boy, when I got to like the [shortstop] hole I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I don't have another gear.' I was glad I made it."

"I can't say I've ever seen anything like that," said A's starter Rich Harden. "It's kind of embarrassing."

After Dustin Ackley walked, Carp doubled in both runners for the 2-0 lead.

Ackley was then involved in the oddness with an Ichiro look-a-like in the third inning when he scorched a ball just inside the bag at first. As the ball rolled down the right-field line, the fan -- who had been posing for pictures and signing autographs around Safeco Field the previous few days -- reached out and grabbed it.

Ackley was awarded a ground-rule triple on fan interference, at the umpire's discretion, while the Fake Ichiro was temporarily removed by security. According to the Mariners, the fan was later allowed to return to his seat after being informed of the rules.

Ackley was stranded at third, but the Mariners scored what turned out to be the winning runs when Wells ripped a 3-2 pitch from Harden into the left-field seats for his fifth home run of the season, and first as a Mariner.

"It seems like a lot of positive energy here," said Wells. "I don't know what the struggles were earlier, but it doesn't seem like that since I've been here. This is a good team here and I'm expecting good things to come in the future."

Even after Wells' blast, the Mariners needed a little more weirdness to win this one, however. And they got it after reliever Jeff Gray got himself into a bases-loaded jam by throwing high trying to get the lead runner at third base with one out.

Gray extricated himself from that pickle by striking out Kurt Suzuki on an inside pitch that actually hit the A's catcher in the shoulder as he swung and missed. Gray then struck out Eric Sogard to end the threat and preserve the 4-2 lead.

"We kind of squeezed by their in the eighth with another funky play," manager Eric Wedge said of the Suzuki strikeout, "but we'll take it."

Closer Brandon League came on for his 25th save to send the 22,576 fans home happy, including the one in the Ichiro jersey down the right-field line.

"This one was fun, because we won," said Ryan. "That's a good 'W.' That's how we should be approaching every game, just hungry because we can't rely on three-run homers and stuff to win games. But when we've got Felix on the mound and give him a lead, I always like our chances."

Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak was pinch-hit for in the eighth inning after injuring his thumb on a bad-hop ground ball in the sixth. X-rays taken after the game were negative, but it's unlikely he'll be able to play in Wednesday's series finale. Comments