04/12/07 12:30 AM ET
Hernandez steals spotlight
Right-hander tosses complete-game one-hitter vs. Red Sox
By Jim Street / MLB.com
|There have been nine one-hitters in Seattle Mariners history.|
|Jim Beattie||9/27/1983||vs. Royals|
|Mike Trujillo||9/20/1986||vs. Royals|
|Mark Langston||9/24/1988||vs. Rangers|
|Brian Holman||4/20/1990||vs. A's|
|Randy Johnson||8/14/1991||vs. A's|
|Randy Johnson||5/16/1993||vs. A's|
|Randy Johnson||7/16/1998||vs. Twins|
|Gil Meche||6/13/2000||vs. Royals*|
|Felix Hernandez||4/11/2007||at Red Sox|
"He told me he was going to be good," manager Mike Hargrove said. "He didn't tell me how good."He was so good that after the fourth inning, Hargrove thought Hernandez had no-hit stuff. The only two Boston baserunners in the first four innings came on walks, the first with two outs in the third and the other a four-pitch leadoff walk in the fourth. But none of the runners reached second base, nor did Drew after spoiling the no-no. "The Red Sox have an awfully good offensive ballclub," Hargrove said. "The hitters they have are not chopped liver, and to do what he did tonight against that lineup speaks a lot for his physical ability on one hand but his mental ability on the other. I don't mean he's psychic, but he maintained his focus. "Even after giving up that hit, he came back and threw strikes. You don't see many 31-year-old pitchers to that, much less 21." The no-no lasted as long as it did because of the defensive gems. Lopez made an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center field to rob Kevin Youkilis of a hit in the first inning, stole a single from Drew with a backhanded stab leading off the fifth inning and followed that up with a nice play behind second base to nail Mike Lowell at first for the second out of the inning. "I've been coming to the park early every day working on my fielding," Lopez said. "And with Felix throwing a no-hitter, I tried to catch every ball." The seventh inning started with Youkilis ripping a line drive to Ibanez, who dove to his right and snagged the ball for the first out. The dangerous David Ortiz then lifted a routine fly to Ibanez and Felix buzzed a late-breaking pitch for a called third strike past Manny Ramirez. "He's got great stuff," Youkilis said. "He's got everything people say when they talk about him. He was unbelievable tonight. For him, if he just throws strikes, he's going to dominate." The Mariners took a 1-0 lead off Dice-K in the second inning. Jose Guillen drilled a one-out single to left field, scampered to third on Johjima's double to left and scored on a medium deepth fly ball to Ramirez by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. "Our guys were really ready for this game," Hargrove said. "They came to play today after what we've gone through -- four days in Cleveland and I can't even call it a game yesterday. To come back with that sort of attitude and energy says a lot about these guys." As the fans settled in to watch a classic pitching duel between Hernandez and Matsuzaka, the Mariners scored a pair of two-out runs in the fifth inning. Adrian Beltre drove in the first one with a double and scored on Jose Vidro's single to center. After that, the game became the Felix Watch. "What we're seeing is just the tip of the iceberg," Hargrove said. "I think this guy is ultra-special and I sure am glad he's on our side." When it was suggested he should start his ace with eight days' rest again, the manager quipped, "I'd start him every day if I could."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.