By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Remember when Felix Hernandez got 10 runs of support in his last start in Houston?
Yeah, he doesn’t, either.
All those runs were nothing but a faraway memory on Friday night at Safeco Field. Hernandez turned in a brilliant performance against the Minnesota Twins, allowing just one run in nine innings and yet it still wasn’t good enough for him or the Mariners to get the victory.
Seattle’s suddenly stagnant offense squandered Hernandez’s outstanding outing, mustering a measly run, and the Mariners’ bullpen couldn’t withstand the drought, falling apart in the 13th inning in a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Chris Colabello crushed his first career homer — a two-run shot to right field — in the top of the 13th inning off of Yoervis Medina to provide the game-winning hit for Minnesota. It was the first homer Medina had allowed in 37 appearances and 39 1/3 innings pitched.
“He’s been very good out of the bullpen,” acting manager Robby Thompson said. “We were hoping to go to him and get our normal usual innings out of him. But sometimes that happens. He’s been very solid for us. He’ll be back out there again very shortly.”
The Mariners made the game interesting in the bottom of the 13th. Kendrys Morales cut the lead to 3-2 with a solo homer to center field off of Twins’ closer Glen Perkins. Kyle Seager followed with a single. But Justin Smoak grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and Dustin Ackley couldn’t beat out a bobbled ground ball to short, ending the rally.
But this game was lost well before for that in all those early innings when the Mariners (43-57) did little against Minnesota lefty starter Scott Diamond, who pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Seattle scored just the one run in regulation. It came in the fifth inning when Nick Franklin singled home Brendan Ryan.
And even though it was only one run, it seemed as though Hernandez might make it stand up.
He cruised through the first eight innings with only one batter — the first of the game — reaching second base.
Over those eight innings, Hernandez allowed just two hits. Neither of which amounted to a threat. Combined with his previous outings, he had thrown 24 scoreless innings — the longest stretch of his career.
It looked as though he would notch his 10th career shutout.
“He basically chewed them up for eight innings,” Thompson said.
With the crowd of 23,162 standing and applauding, Hernandez took the mound to start the ninth inning. He’d thrown just 86 pitches. Not a soul moved in the Mariners bullpen.
But Hernandez couldn’t put up that 25th zero.
It started off innocently when gave up a lead-off single to Pedro Florimon. The Twins played for one run as Dozier sacrificed Florimon into scoring position with a bunt.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire called on Trevor Plouffe to pinch hit. The big right-hander delivered, looping a 0-2 sinker into center field for a single that scored Florimon and tied it 1-1.
Hernandez bounced back to strike out Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit. But his night was done. He’d pitched nine innings, giving up the one run on five hits and striking out 11. It was the 96th time in his career he’d made a start allowing one run or less. And it was the 28th time he took a no decision.
“I wish was we would have got him one more run,” Thompson said.
Neither team mustered much in extra innings.
The Mariners best chance came in the 11th inning. Morales led off with a single. But Morneau converted the always tough 3-6-3 double play to kill the threat.
Seattle was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.