for this game

Hernandez strikes out 12 as Mariners edge A's in opener

Apr 3, 2007 - 4:13 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Felix Hernandez began his season in impressive fashion.

Hernandez struck out a career-high 12 batters over eight outstanding innings and Richie Sexson homered as the Seattle Mariners posted a 4-0 triumph over the Oakland Athletics in the season opener for both clubs.

Hernandez (1-0) was in total control, allowing just three hits and two walks. The righthander's previous strikeout high was 11 on August 15, 2005 against Kansas City.

"I was throwing a lot of strikes to get ahead and I think that's the key," Hernandez said. "I was so happy, the team gave me great support."

"Felix is one of the rare breed that seems to have grasped the concept and really taken it to heart about how to pitch winning baseball at the big league level," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. "Obviously the fact that he has great stuff doesn't hurt. Every time something bad has happened to this kid he has learned from it."

Hernandez fell just two strikeouts short of matching Randy Johnson's franchise record of 14 (1993 and 1996) for the most during a season opener.

"The way (Hernandez) was pitching the game was pretty well over," Sexson said. "I think the first three innings dictate when Felix is going to do and he was just pounding the strike zone. The sky is the limit now."

"We just ran into a well-pitched game," A's manager Bob Green said. "You could tell early when he was throwing 97, 98 miles per hour that it was going to be a tough battle."

At 20 years old and 359 days, Hernandez became the youngest Opening Day starter since Dwight Gooden (20 years, 144 days) took the mound in 1985 as a member of the New York Mets.

Closer J.J Putz tossed a scoreless ninth as Seattle improved to 16-15 in season openers.

Seattle gave the young flamethrower all the support he needed in the sixth, breaking up a pitchers' duel with Oakland's Danny Haren (0-1). Sexson followed a sacrifice fly by Raul Ibanez with a three-run homer to cap the four-run uprising.

"(Haren) got a pitch out over the plate," Sexson said. "We needed a fly ball in that situation and we got one. Thank god they closed the roof. I wasn't sure it was going to go out, but I knew we would at least score a run there with a sacrifice fly."

"I wasn't expecting that my curveball would be my best pitch, but it was," Haren said. "(Sexson) hit a curveball that I just left over. In that situation it wasn't so much the pitch as the location. In that situation instead of thinking down, or thinking away, I was thinking strike, which is probably not the best thing to do."

Earlier in the inning, speedy Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre hit consecutive singles and Jose Vidro reached on Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby's second error in as many frames to load the bases.

"Everybody has bad days," Crosby said. "But I am sure he is going to win me a lot of games. I don't want him to feel bad for me."

Sexson has hit three homers in his last three season openers. The 6-8 first basemen recorded two home runs in Seattle's 5-1 victory over Minnesota on April 4, 2005.

Haren gave up four runs and four hits in six frames with two strikeouts.

"I'm also proud of Dan Haren, who battled him pitch for pitch," Green said. "A couple of breaks didn't go his way, but other than that he was equally outstanding."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
    SEATTLE 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 x 4 4 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - DAN HAREN, JAY WITASICK (7TH), JAY MARSHALL (8TH) AND JASON
    KENDALL
    SEA - FELIX HERNANDEZ, J.J. PUTZ (9TH) AND KENJI
    JOHJIMA

    HOME RUNS: OAK - NONE
    SEA - RI

    Apr 2 8:49 PM


  • AL
    AT SEATTLE - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: J Witasick relieved D Haren.
    SITUATION: 0 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    SEATTLE 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: Y Betancourt (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Apr 2 8:21 PM


  • AL
    AT SEATTLE - PITCHING CHANGE
    OAK: JAY WITASICK (NO RECORD) STARTING THE 7TH
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0, SEATTLE 4
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: Y BETANCOURT (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Apr 2 8:21 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
    SEATTLE 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 4 0 (BOT 7)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - DAN HAREN
    SEA - FELIX HERNANDEZ

    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: Y BETANCOURT (.000, 0-FOR-2)
    J LOPEZ (.000, 0-FOR-2)
    I SUZUKI (.333, 1-FOR-3)

    Apr 2 8:19 PM


  • AL
    AT SEATTLE - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY RICHIE SEXSON (1) TO CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 6TH OFF DAN HAREN SCORED ADRIAN BELTRE AND JOSE VIDRO.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0, SEATTLE 4
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: J GUILLEN (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. MarinersApr 2 8:03 PM


  • AL
    AT SEATTLE - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY RAUL IBANEZ SCORED ICHIRO SUZUKI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VIDRO ON FIRST, A BELTRE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    SEATTLE 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: R SEXSON (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. MarinersApr 2 8:01 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
    SEATTLE 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 (TOP 5)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - DAN HAREN
    SEA - FELIX HERNANDEZ

    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E CHAVEZ (.000, 0-FOR-1)
    N SWISHER (.000, 0-FOR-0, BB)
    B CROSBY (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Apr 2 7:30 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0
    SEATTLE 0 0 0 0 (BOT 2)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - DAN HAREN
    SEA - FELIX HERNANDEZ

    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: R IBANEZ (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    R SEXSON (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    J GUILLEN (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Apr 2 7:00 PM