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Hernandez, Ibanez lead M's to 7-4 win over ChiSox

  • Mariners pitcher Felix Heernandez acklnowledges the fans as he leaves Tuesday night's game against the White Sox in the eighth inning.

    Associated Press

    Mariners pitcher Felix Heernandez acklnowledges the fans as he leaves Tuesday night's game against the White Sox in the eighth inning.

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By Todd Dybas
The News Tribune
Published:
  • Mariners pitcher Felix Heernandez acklnowledges the fans as he leaves Tuesday night's game against the White Sox in the eighth inning.

    Associated Press

    Mariners pitcher Felix Heernandez acklnowledges the fans as he leaves Tuesday night's game against the White Sox in the eighth inning.

SEATTLE — Two longtime Seattle Mariners faces carried the weight Tuesday night.
Yet another new one could join the team Wednesday.
Felix Hernandez counter-punched the White Sox’s off-speed seeking approach with power pitching and Raul Ibanez drove in four more runs in the Mariners’ 7-4 win at Safeco Field.
However, a looping back swing by Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez in the fifth inning smacked catcher Jesus Sucre on the top of his left hand. Sucre was able to finish the inning after the injury was investigated by head trainer Rick Griffin. When Sucre came out on-deck in the bottom of the inning, his practice swings told him he had a problem. He was replaced by Kelly Shoppach.
X-Rays on Sucre’s catching hand showed “something small,” according to manager Eric Wedge. Sucre will be looked at again this morning. But, with a day game looming, it’s likely the Mariners will have to make a move to replace him.
That means top-tier prospect Mike Zunino could be called up. Jesus Montero is on the disabled list because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s scheduled for surgery this morning. That leaves Zunino or Brandon Bantz as options from Tacoma. Neither are on the 40-man roster.
The Rainiers are off today.
“Kind of in a pickle here,” Wedge said.
After an epic 13-pitch at-bat ended with a homer Monday night, Ibanez clobbered the first pitch he saw Tuesday into the right-field stands. He hit a double to right his next at-bat to drive in two more runs.
Ibanez has homered in back-to-back games for the third time this season and it’s the 36th time in his career he has homered in at least two consecutive games.
This ongoing push from the veteran — he’s hitting .305 since April 27 — vaulted Hernandez into a comfortable four-run lead.
Hernandez (7-4) plowed through early game bumps, when he allowed runs in the first and second. From the third on, he dominated the downtrodden White Sox into the eighth.
He only provided a walk from the third to seventh inning. The White Sox didn’t hit the ball out of the infield during that stretch. Hernandez left the game after 7 innings when a Tyler Flowers double scored Ramirez, who had blooped a single to right.
Oliver Perez came on and gave up a single to score Flowers. Hernandez, the Mariners’ franchise player, finished with four earned runs allowed and eight strikeouts. It was the third time this year Hernandez has allowed four runs or more.
The White Sox had settled in on Hernandez’s dominating changeup. Once he snuffed that out, he switched to his four-seam fastball, eschewing the late bite for power. Hernandez was often clocked throwning 95 mph.
“Had a pretty good fastball today,” Hernandez said.
Closer Tom Wilhelmsen grappled with another ominous start when he walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth on four pitches. A tricky 5-4-3 double play started by retreating third baseman Kyle Seager ended the game to give Wilhelmsen his 14th save.
Story tags » Mariners

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