Mariners Game Recap: King Felix Goes Blue Jay Hunting, M’s Win 4-3


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The Seattle Mariners (19-22) bested the Toronto Blue Jays (19-25) 4-3 on Friday night at the Rogers Centre. Felix Hernandez (7-1, 2.19 ERA) was electric en route to earning his 7th win of the season. Marco Estrada (1-3, 3.90 ERA) took the loss for the Blue Jays. Fernando Rodney allowed a pair of runs to score in the final frame, but managed to escape for his 11th save of the season.

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The M’s inched closer tot he American League West leading Houston Astros with the win tonight. Seattle resides in 3rd place in the AL West, 7.0 games back of the Astros.

Felix Hernandez was nearly flawless on Friday, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits across 7.0 innings tonight. King Felix was shaky in the 1st inning, but regrouped extremely well. Hernandez tallied 8 punch outs and issued just 2 free passes. After tonight’s strong showing, the King has lowered his ERA to a remarkable 2.19. Hernandez spotted the ball with ease tonight, as 62 of his 97 pitches found the strike zone. The 29-year-old right-hander is the heavy favorite to take home the AL Cy Young at the quarter mark of the season.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I am amazed Fernando Rodney is still the Mariners’ closer. Rodney entered the game with a 3-run cushion, and as always, he needed every last run. He surrendered a leadoff double, and soon after allowed a 2-run home run to make it a 1-run ballgame. Thankfully, he tip toed out of danger to record the save. The archery enthusiast always seems to find a way to get the job done, but I am tired of watching him lackadaisically cough up runs. I cringe at the thought of Rodney pitching with a slim lead in the postseason. It is time for Carson Smith to take over.

Marco Estrada allowed 4 runs on 6 hits across 7 innings. He struck out 5 and walked 3 in the series opener. Estrada actually pitched better than his numbers indicate, but not much. Poor defense has plagued the Blue Jays all season, and it cost them runs again tonight. The 31-year-old is carving out a spot in Toronto’s starting rotation, but he will have his work cut out for him pitching at the Rogers Centre all summer.

May 22, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Seattle Mariners right fielder Nelson Cruz (23) reacts after crossing homeplate after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

If the season ended today, Nelson Cruz would win the triple crown. Cruz went 2 for 4 with a home run and an RBI in tonight’s game. The 34-year-old slugger is now hitting .354 with 17 home runs and 34 RBI’s on the season. I was hoping for a 30 home run season out of Cruz, but it looks like he will breeze past that figure in the very near future.

Logan Morrison and Mike Zunino were responsible for the other Mariners’ runs tonight in Toronto. LoMo has been mired in a slump lately, but he came through with a key 2-run triple in the top of the 4th. Chris Colabello horribly misplaced Morrison’s liner, and he made it easily to third base. Mike Zunino made it back-to-back extra base hits when he ripped a ground ball past Danny Valencia at third base. The ball was picked up by a dopey fan down the left field line, and Zunino was awarded second base.

Edwin Encarnacion was huge for the Blue Jays on Friday night. The powerful first baseman launched a solo home run in the home half of the 1st, and led off the final inning with a double to right-center field. Encarnacion has not had a great season, but he remains one of the more dangerous hitters in baseball. Chris Colabello made up for his defensive blunder by yanking a Fernando Rodney changeup over the wall in left field in the 9th. Colabello’s blast was of the 2-run variety, and certainly made it an interesting finish.

Despite the negative vitriol on twitter from M’s fans, the Mariners have been playing their best baseball of the season over the last 2 weeks. Yes, the M’s are still leaving far too many runners on base, but the pitching staff has made some huge strides. The Mariners’ starting rotation has posted the best ERA in baseball over the last month. If Seattle is going to turn things around this season, the pitching will once again be the main reason.

The Seattle Mariners (19-22) will take on the Toronto Blue Jays (19-25) in a Saturday matinee tomorrow afternoon north of the border. First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 am PT from the Rogers Centre in T.O. James Paxton (2-2, 3.59 ERA) will take the mound for the M’s in his home country for the 2nd time in his career. Veteran southpaw Mark Buehrle (5-3, 5.36 ERA) will be tasked with evening the series for the Jays. Root Sports Northwest will broadcast the game live, and subscribers can watch on connected devices.

Next: Mariners Game Notes: Brad Miller Makes First Start in CF

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