Mariners’ Hernandez shuts down Dodgers

  • Associated Press
  • Saturday, June 27, 2009 11:28pm
  • Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Seattle Mariners overcame some distressing news from ailing third baseman Adrian Beltre, and evened their interleague series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with another dominating performance by Felix Hernandez.

Hernandez scattered four hits over eight innings, Ken Griffey Jr. and Russell Branyan each hit home runs, and the Mariners beat the Dodgers 5-1 on Saturday night for their eighth victory in 11 games.

Beltre informed the club that he’ll undergo surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to have bone spurs removed from his troublesome left shoulder, which was operated on in September for the same reason. He’s expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks after Angels team physician Lewis Yocum performs the procedure.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to help the team the way I want to because of the way I’m feeling right now,” said Beltre, who flied out to the warning track in center field his first time up. “It’s gotten to the point where it’s really painful. There were a couple of pitches tonight that I couldn’t get to because of the shoulder, so I think it’s probably better to go fix it and come back 100 percent.”

Beltre singled in five at-bats and threw out two batters at first base. Manager Don Wakamatsu said after the game that Beltre would be in the lineup again in Sunday’s series finale if he’s up to it.

“He’s played with a lot of pain,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s a guy who brings a lot of presence to our clubhouse and a lot of presence to that lineup. And over the last three or four weeks, he’s really started to swing the bat. So we’re going to miss him a lot. It’s unfortunate that he has to go through that. But this club has responded to a lot of tragedy and a lot of hard times, and we’ll be OK.”

Beltre, who also had thumb surgery on the same day as the first operation on his non-throwing shoulder, will be going on the disabled list for the third time in his 12-year career and first time in five seasons with the Mariners. The two-time Gold Glove winner, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season, is batting .259 with five homers and 30 RBIs.

Hernandez (8-3) allowed an unearned run, struck out nine and walked one. Rafael Furcal reached on an infield hit in the third inning and scored from third when eight-time Gold Glove right fielder Ichiro Suzuki misplayed Casey Blake’s sinking liner for his second error of the season.

Hernandez retired his next 12 batters and 16 of his final 17 before David Aardsma finished up.

“Felix was just outstanding,” Wakamatsu said. “I think this game was the best I’ve seen him with his stuff. He was just dominating with his off-speed stuff and his fastball was electric. Just the way he’s been taking the mound, I can’t say enough about him. He’s at the top of his game right now, and probably as good as anybody in the game.”

The 23-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA in seven starts — including a two-hit shutout at San Diego — since giving up six runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-5 loss to the Angels on May 19 at Seattle.

“He’s one of a handful of pitchers in the game who can dominate like that,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.

Suzuki went 3 for 5 to raise his major league-leading average to .375 and record his seventh straight multihit game, matching his career best.

Eric Milton (2-1) gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings, striking out seven and walking none. The 33-year-old lefty, activated from the DL earlier in the day after missing 17 games because of a back strain, is 1-6 with a 9.18 ERA in 10 career starts against Seattle.

The Mariners increased their margin to 4-0 in the third when Suzuki led off with a single, Branyan followed with his first triple of the season and Griffey drove a 1-1 pitch into the right-field pavilion for his ninth homer this season and 620th of his career — fifth on the all-time list.

The homer was Griffey’s 55th during interleague play, keeping him one shy of Jim Thome for the most in that category since the format was established in 1997. Thome also homered Saturday.

Griffey, 39, has homered in three of the last five games in which he’s had an at-bat.<

NOTES: Manny Ramirez, eligible to return from his 50-game substance abuse suspension next Friday, was 2 for 2 with a home run for Class A Inland Empire at Lake Elsinore, leading off as the DH. The Dodgers are 27-19 during his absence, the best record in the majors since the ban was announced May 7. … Griffey’s homer was his first at Dodger Stadium since Mother’s Day 2007, and it came with his wife, Melissa, in the stands celebrating her birthday. … Seattle has won the last eight interleague games in which Hernandez has started, and he has gotten the decision in five of them.

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