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Mariners’ King Felix Strikes Out 13 In CG Win

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 28:  Fans in the "King's Court" section cheer after starting pitcher Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners struck out Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on June 28, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 28: Fans in the “King’s Court” section cheer after starting pitcher Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners struck out Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on June 28, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) _ Felix Hernandez matched his career high with 13
strikeouts in a brilliant five-hit complete game and John Jaso’s
pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth scored Casper Wells to
give the Seattle Mariners a 1-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on
Thursday night.

Hernandez (6-5) tossed his fifth career shutout and was one of
the first ones out of the Mariners dugout after Wells’ belly-flop
onto home plate. It was the third time in his career Hernandez
struck out 13, the most recent coming on May 22, 2011 at San Diego.

Wells lined a one-out double off Scott Atchison (2-1) into the
left-center field gap in the ninth. After an intentional walk, Jaso
came on as a pinch-hitter. He lined the first pitch for Atchison
into right field for a single and Wells was waved around from
third.

The throw from Cody Ross beat Wells to the plate, but Jarrod
Saltalamacchia lost the ball as he attempted to make the sweeping
tag and Wells dived onto home plate for the only run.

Hernandez was brilliant for a third straight start in one of the
finest performances of his career. It was his 19th career 10
strikeout game and the first time he’s ever struck out at least 10
in consecutive starts. The last Mariners pitcher to accomplish that
was Freddy Garcia back in 1999.

The only time Hernandez was tested came in the ninth. It was
quite the challenge.

Hernandez struck out Dustin Pedroia on a 3-2 pitch to open the
ninth inning. David Ortiz responded with a line drive back up the
middle on a hanging curveball that sent Hernandez sprawling to
avoid the shot. He got ahead of Saltalamacchia 1-2, but missed on
the edges and walked him on a 3-2 pitch, allowing a runner to
second base for just the third time in the game.

Newly acquired Brent Lillibridge pinch-ran for Ortiz once the
slugger reached second. Hernandez fell behind Gonzalez 3-0, but
fought back to 3-2 before Gonzalez fouled off the next four
pitches. On the ninth pitch, Gonzalez hit a shot to deep
left-center that Michael Saunders chased down just before the wall.
Will Middlebrooks then popped out and Hernandez was left waiting to
see if the Mariners offense could get him a run.

Wells’ double came after Jesus Montero had weakly flied out to
open the inning. Boston intentionally walked Justin Smoak to bring
up Jaso, who led the team in game-winning RBIs. He jumped on the
first pitch and Saltalamacchia appeared to have plenty of time to
apply the tag, but reacted with disgust when he saw the ball on the
ground.

Wells’ double and winning run capped a night where he was a star
both at the plate and in the field. Boston batters tested Wells
twice in the eighth inning.

He took away a hit from Mike Aviles with a sliding catch for the
second out of the inning. Moments later, Wells was racing toward
the left-field corner and made an even better backhanded sliding
catch while crashing into the padded wall for the final out of the
inning.

Aviles was the only batter in the Red Sox lineup that Hernandez
did not strike out at least once.

Boston starter Franklin Morales was just as good as the more
accomplished Hernandez. Making just his third start of the season,
Morales gave up just two hits through six innings with only one of
those leaving the infield.

Seattle finally threatened in the seventh when Smoak dropped a
one-out single into center and Morales let loose with a wild pitch
that advanced Smoak to second. But Morales got out the inning on an
infield ground out. He gave up just three hits and striking out
seven and walking just two. It was his longest start of the season
after going five and six innings in his previous outings, but he
left unable to get a decision.

NOTES: Seattle CF Franklin Gutierrez left after a single in the
fourth inning when he was hit in the face on a pick-off attempt.
… Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury and OF Scott Podsednik will both
begin rehab assignments on Friday. Ellsbury will be with the Red
Sox rookie league club in the Gulf Coast League, while Podsednik
will begin his rehab at Triple-A Pawtucket. … Seattle’s
first-round draft pick, Mike Zunino, won the Johnny Bench award on
Thursday night as the top catcher in college baseball.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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