Felix Hernandez struggles and Mariners lose sixth straight home game
1 of 9 Paul and Morgan Whittingslow, of Puyallup Wash., deck out in patriotic hats during batting practice before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Seattle. They… (John Froschauer/AP) More
The Felix Hernandez who is back on the mound for the Mariners has yet to look like the ace pitcher Seattle has grown to accustomed to watching for over the last decade.
And when Hernandez runs into trouble, the game’s outcome for Seattle rests on the shoulders of the offense, which has struggled lately at home and continued to do so on Tuesday. The Mariners (41-44) lost 7-3 in their second game of their series against the Royals (43-40) at Safeco Field, marking Seattle’s sixth straight loss at home.
In his third game back since missing two months due to shoulder inflammation, Hernandez pitched six innings, allowing six runs, one of which was unearned, and six hits.
On Tuesday, Hernandez allowed more runs than he has in any other game this season. He’s just pitched eight games this year, but so far Hernandez’s ERA is 5.04.
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In their last six home losses, the Mariners have only averaged 2.33 runs per game.
Meanwhile, the Royals have now won 17 of their past 23 games.
The Mariners’ only offensive burst came in the first inning when Jean Segura and Danny Valencia scored on a single from Nelson Cruz, who’s back in the starting lineup after being out briefly with a sore knee. Cruz, who has homered 14 times this year but hasn’t done so in the last month, was just shy of hitting a home run.
Seattle’s other run came in the seventh when Carlos Ruiz advanced to third base on an error and then scored an unearned run on a single from Segura, who finished the day with four hits.
The Royals finished the day with two home runs — Whit Merrifield on Hernandez’s first pitch of the day and when Mike Moustakas, who will play in the All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Later in the inning after Moustakas’ homer, a fielding error from Robinson Cano, his fourth of the year, allowed Brandon Moss to score, while an out would have ended the inning.
In the fifth, Salvador Perez’s double scored two more for the Royals.
After a triple from Jorge Bonifacio and a wild pitch in the ninth inning, the Royals scored their seventh and final run of the day. Bonifacio’s hit was the only one Yovani Gallardo allowed in his three innings of relief.
Ben Gamel, who leads the AL with a .332 batting average but will soon be knocked off the list because he will be back to not having enough plate appearances, had gone 0-for-12 in the last three games and was not in the starting lineup on Tuesday. However, Gamel was 1 for 2, coming into the game as a pinch-hitter.
AL wild-card Team Record GB N.Y. Yankees 44-38 +1½ Minnesota 43-40 — Tampa Bay 44-41 — Kansas City 43-40 — L.A. Angels 43-45 2½ Mariners 41-44 3 Baltimore 40-43 3 Texas 40-43 3