Despite Felix's strong start, Mariners fall in extras

Despite Felix's strong start, Mariners fall in extras

Despite Felix's strong start, Mariners fall in extras
OAKLAND -- A frustrating first half for the Mariners ended with a 2-1 loss to the A's in 13 innings Sunday, as another Felix Hernandez outing was spoiled, but Seattle's ace refused to be discouraged by the latest setback.

Hernandez heads to the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Kansas City while the rest of the Mariners regroup over the four-day break after losing their longest game of the year. Josh Reddick doubled off reliever Oliver Perez with no outs in the 13th to score Jemile Weeks from first after both teams had put up zeros for the previous seven innings.

The overriding story, of course, was the continued difficulty of the Mariners to score runs as they pushed across just one in 13 frames in the 3-hour, 55-minute game.

"Those guys are trying hard, they want to score runs," said Hernandez. "I believe in this team. I believe in these guys. We're going to get better."

Hernandez threw 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his final start of the half and said he could pitch in the All-Star Game if needed, though admitting it was tough after throwing 114 pitches in Sunday's no-decision.

"I threw a lot of pitches today, but we'll see what happens," he said. "If they need me, I will pitch. If I don't, it'll be OK."

It was the second time in the three-game series that the two teams went into extra innings tied 1-1. The A's won the opening game Friday, 4-1, on an 11th-inning home run by Chris Carter.

"This one was drawn out a lot longer than it should have been," Mariners leadoff hitter Dustin Ackley said after his 2-for-6 day. "We should have put something on the board well before they did. Those are tough ones to lose. We had a similar one the other night and couldn't come through. It's frustrating to not do it again."

The Mariners had a chance in the top of the ninth with a two-out double by Justin Smoak, putting runners on second and third and knocking starter Bartolo Colon out, but All-Star reliever Ryan Cook came on to strike out catcher Miguel Olivo.

Seattle's other late opportunity came in the top of the 13th when Michael Saunders hit a pop fly to right that the A's Brandon Moss couldn't track down between the sun and a flock of seagulls that were circling over the field in the final frames.

Saunders wound up with a double, but was stranded there when John Jaso grounded out.

That wasn't the only bizarre moment of the game, as Seattle initially avoided disaster in the bottom of the 10th when Shawn Kelley struck out Jonny Gomes for the final out after Charlie Furbush had put the winning run on third with a wild pitch on an intentional walk.

Oakland got its leadoff hitter on in the 10th on a single by Cliff Pennington, but Furbush threw to second to stymie a sacrifice attempt by Coco Crisp and then picked Crisp off first. But Weeks walked with two outs, then stole second before Furbush threw over Olivo's head while issuing a free pass to Reddick.

The A's finally ended it when Reddick delivered his double off Perez after Weeks' leadoff single.

"I was just trying to hit a ball in the gap," said Reddick. "I'm not trying to hit a home run. I've got speed on first base, and I know he's going to score on a gap ball. I was just trying to see something hard off Perez and I just went off my first at-bat when he threw something hard earlier in the series."

With his no-decision, Hernandez finished up his first half at 6-5 with a 3.13 ERA. He only allowed one run Sunday, that coming in the first when the A's bunched three singles -- two of which never left the infield.

"When they scored the first one, I just said they cannot score any more," Hernandez said. "I just tried to keep my team in the game. We tied the game, but we couldn't score any more. It was tough. Bartolo was pretty good today. I give credit to that guy. He was good."

Hernandez struck out six batters on the day, putting him into a tie with Detroit's Justin Verlander for the American League lead with 128.

The Mariners hit the All-Star getaway with a 36-51 record, the 13th time in franchise history with at least 50 losses at the break. They were 43-48 last year and five games into a 17-game losing streak.

The Mariners' midseason batting average of .225 a year ago was the worst in club history. They've raised that to .230 this season, but are still struggling to score runs with a young roster that could see more changes over the break.

"We've got four days to mentally and physically rest and give themselves a break, but you also have to be honest with what has and hasn't happened here," said manager Eric Wedge. "Obviously from an offensive standpoint, that's the No. 1 area we've got to get better and be more consistent."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.