The Seattle Mariners ace has struck out 23 in winning consecutive starts and enters Tuesday night's matchup with the Orioles with a 15-inning scoreless streak.
Baltimore (42-37) has scored three runs or fewer in all but two games during a 3-10 stretch, and that's the major reason it obtained Thome from Philadelphia on Saturday. The slugger singled in Monday's 6-3 loss in the opener of this three-game set for his first Orioles hit in his second game with the club.
He's 8 for 16 with three homers against Hernandez (6-5, 3.09 ERA), who has been nearly unhittable in his last two outings. The right-hander matched a career high with 13 strikeouts in a five-hitter for his fifth career shutout in Thursday's 1-0 home victory over Boston.
"This year, this is the best game that I've thrown," said Hernandez, whose 128 pitches also tied a career high. "I was throwing a lot of strikes and all the pitches were working."
Hernandez is 5-4 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 career starts against Baltimore.
The Orioles are hopeful Roberts will return after he sat out Monday with a sore groin. The second baseman felt the problem initially during Sunday's 6-2 defeat to Cleveland.
"We want to try to manage that and make sure it's not something more than it is," manager Buck Showalter told the Orioles' official website.
Wilson Betemit has been one of the few Orioles hitters producing lately, but his 11-game hitting streak was snapped in the opener with an 0-for-4 performance. He's batting .434 (23 for 53) in his last 16 games.
Thome and Chris Davis were the only Baltimore hitters to record hits Monday, with the right fielder hitting a three-run homer for a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning.
The six runs were Seattle's most at home since June 16 and only the second time it reached that number at Safeco Field since May 21.
The Mariners bullpen finished the game with four scoreless innings, lowering the unit's ERA over the last 10 games to 1.03.
The Orioles bullpen, meanwhile, has a 5.52 ERA over a 1-6 stretch. Those relievers have seen their major league-best ERA climb to 2.66.
The Mariners are 10-15 against left-handed starters and will get their first look at Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chan (7-4, 3.73), who is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three outings against AL West foes.
Chen has dropped his last two starts, yielding a season-high six runs over 6 1-3 innings in Thursday's 7-2 loss to the Indians.
"Every day, you got a different feel for your pitches. Today, I just don't feel it," Chen said through an interpreter.
Chen has pitched 11 straight scoreless innings on the road.
|June 28, 2012||Nick Johnson||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|June 27, 2012||Nick Johnson||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|June 13, 2012||Brian Matusz||Day-to-Day||Bruised nose|
|June 13, 2012||Endy Chavez||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|June 12, 2012||Endy Chavez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Strained right hamstring|
|June 07, 2012||Adam Jones||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist soreness|
|July 01, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 30, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Left Game-Head Injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 27, 2012||Kevin Millwood||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right groin|
|June 13, 2012||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Robert Andino came up big at the right time for the Baltimore Orioles .
A day after dropping a throw at second base that helped extend the seventh inning in a loss to Seattle, Andino homered in the top of the ninth to give the Orioles a 5-4 win Tuesday over the Mariners.
"I had to make up for something from yesterday," Andino said.
Andino's home run gave a boost to the Orioles. Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen was perfect for 6 1/3 innings, and left the game with a 4-1 lead.
The Mariners rallied for three runs against reliever Pedro Strop to tie the game before Andino came through.
His fourth homer of the year was his first since May 7 and ended Seattle reliever Charlie Furbush 's (4-2) streak of 22 2-3 scoreless innings, the third longest by a reliever in Mariners' history.
"It was a two-seamer I wanted to have sink and it stayed flat," Furbush said.
Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save. Darren O'Day (5-0) pitched one-third of an inning, but picked up the win.
Strop struggled in the eighth when the Mariners scored three runs and tied the game. Michael Saunders ' double ended Chen's night. Strop faced Justin Smoak , who was 2-for-2 with a walk in his career against Strop.
Smoak's single scored Saunders and John Jaso 's pinch-hit single drove in Smoak following a Dustin Ackley single. Jaso is 4 for 10 this season pinch-hitting.
Strop walked Kyle Seager with the bases loaded to force in the tying run, ending his night after just one-third of an inning in which he allowed three hits, hit a batter, walked one and gave up two earned runs. Strop had allowed two earned runs in his prior 26 appearances combined.
Chen threw 7 1-3 innings, the first 6 1-3 perfect, allowed two hits and two earned runs while striking out a career-high nine. He said he didn't think about the perfect game.
Casper Wells ' seventh-inning home run to left on a 3-2 pitch ended Chen's perfect run.
"I know you got to throw a strike - it's a perfect game - so I'm pretty much sitting dead red," Wells said. "I got a fastball I could handle."
Chicago's Phil Humber threw a perfect game against Seattle on April 21.
Smoak led off the sixth with a soft liner after Chen had an extended wait during the Orioles' four-run rally in the top of the inning. Ackley flew out to left and Brendan Ryan popped out in foul territory to catcher Matt Wieters .
Chen was never threatened in the first five innings. He struck out eight, including the side in the fifth, working a 93-mph fastball with an 80-mph changeup. His strikeout of Miguel Olivo for the second out in the fifth set a career high in strikeouts.
The Mariners managed only one out in the outfield through the first five innings when Ichiro Suzuki flew to left leading off the game.
Ryan hit a line drive right back at Chen in the third that the left-hander snagged with his glove.
Baltimore pounced on Seattle starter Felix Hernandez in the sixth for four runs and knocked him out of the game. The Orioles started the inning with four consecutive singles from Xavier Avery , J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis and Adam Jones . Jim Thome grounded out, but Wieters singled to center to score two runs and chase Hernandez.
"It's really tough to string something against him," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "You may get one or two shots at him in a ball game, and we took advantage of it."
Hernandez lasted 5 1-3 innings, and allowed four earned runs and eight hits. He struck out eight and walked none.
The first run of the inning snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak for Hernandez, who will be participating in next week's All-Star game.
The 2010 Cy Young winner had allowed two earned runs over his prior three starts combined. The four runs were more than the Orioles had scored in 13 of the previous 16 games.
Ryan Flaherty 's one-out single to right in the third was the first hit of the night off Hernandez. After Andino struck out, Avery, activated Tuesday, hit a broken-bat grounder to left that moved Flaherty to third. Hernandez powered out of trouble with a strikeout of Hardy, Hernandez's seventh strikeout in the first three innings.
"There was a lot of opportunity there to give in and keel over, but Robert had a big swing for us after a couple tough things," Showalter said.
Notes: Baltimore placed second baseman Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday because of a strained right groin. Xavier Avery was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. . Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Franklin Gutierrez , who is on the seven-day disabled list because of concussion symptoms, is unlikely to be back prior to the All-Star break. . Seattle's Mike Carp (shoulder) participated in batting practice Tuesday, and will be worked back in primarily at first base. He is yet to throw. . Seattle signed No. 3 overall pick Mike Zunino on Tuesday. Zunino and his family were at Safeco Field, and Zunino took batting practice, hitting a handful of home runs.