Every pitcher has an occasional bad start.
Some pitchers struggle in back-to-back outings.
Felix Hernandez is trying to avoid a rarity for him - losing three consecutive starts - as he takes the mound Thursday night for the Seattle Mariners in their season series finale versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
Already the owner of baseball's 23rd all-time perfect game, Hernandez (13-7, 2.67 ERA) has hit a rough patch in losing back-to-back appearances for the second time this season. He has given up 11 runs in 20 hits in those defeats and was roughed up for six runs and 11 hits - the latter matching a season high - in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-1 defeat at Oakland on Friday."It was one of those games," Hernandez said. "Every pitch was up. I fell behind a couple of times, well, not a couple, a lot of times and they just made me pay. All my pitches. It was not my day today."
The last time the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner had a three-start losing streak was to close out 2011. It has happened only five times - including one four-start skid - over his 234 career appearances.
Additionally, Hernandez has given up seven or more runs just 14 times in his career, but two have come versus the Blue Jays, including his most recent outing against them. Toronto reached him for seven runs and 12 hits in six innings April 11, 2011, but the Mariners (69-74) rallied for an 8-7 win.
Seven runs, though, may be a stretch for a Blue Jays team out to avert a sweep after suffering a pair of one-run losses in this series. Franklin Gutierrez 's two-run single and Miguel Olivo 's homer helped Seattle post a 3-2 win Wednesday night when Kevin Millwood grinded through five innings with a stiff pitching shoulder for the victory."It's not the way you want to be when you're out there," Millwood said. "I felt like, for the most part, I could still throw the ball where I wanted to, there was just really nothing on it."
Toronto (64-77), which was already swept by Seattle in a three-game set at Safeco Field from July 30-Aug. 1, will try to regroup behind Henderson Alvarez (8-12, 4.95). The right-hander ended a personal five-game losing streak Friday at Boston, limiting the Red Sox to two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-5 win."He was powerful," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "He threw a lot of strikes. He kept the ball on the ground."
Alvarez beat the Mariners on April 29, limiting them to a solo homer and five other hits in six innings of a 7-2 win. He did not get a decision in his other start against them as a rookie last year.
Edwin Encarnacion , whose two-run homer accounted for Toronto's offense Wednesday and was his team-high 39th, is on the verge of his first 100-RBI season. He is 2 for 10 with one double lifetime versus Hernandez.
|August 31, 2012||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained groin|
|August 25, 2012||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Sore groin|
|August 13, 2012||Mike Carp||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|August 13, 2012||Mike Carp||15-Day DL||Strained left groin muscle|
|August 06, 2012||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Left elbow contusion|
|July 18, 2012||Charlie Furbush||15-Day DL||Strained left triceps|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|September 04, 2012||J.A. Happ||15-Day DL||Fractured right foot|
|August 27, 2012||Henderson Alvarez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shin contusion|
|August 27, 2012||Aaron Laffey||Day-to-Day||Left game - left calf contusion|
|August 26, 2012||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left wrist inflammation|
|August 23, 2012||David Cooper||15-Day DL||Upper back soreness|
|August 22, 2012||David Cooper||Day-to-Day||Left game - jammed neck|
TORONTO (AP) -- Felix Hernandez summed up his latest loss in one word: terrible.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th home run, Adam Lind also connected and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 8-3 Thursday night to send Hernandez to his third straight defeat.
"That was terrible right there," a frustrated Hernandez said.
Hernandez (13-8) allowed a season-high seven runs and 10 hits in four innings, struck out four and walked one. He has a 9.00 ERA in his last three outings, losing three consecutive starts for the first time since Sept. 12-24 last year.
"It looked like his stuff was pretty good," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He just didn't have the same location that you normally see him have."
Hernandez matched a season-high by giving up 11 hits to Oakland in his last start, and complained afterward that none of his pitches had been working.
"Today, nothing was working, either," he said after being beaten around by the Blue Jays.
Hernandez is 2-3 since throwing the major leagues' 23rd perfect game against Tampa Bay on Aug. 15.
"I have to do something," he said. "The last three starts have been disappointing."
Encarnacion hit a three-run shot in a five-run fourth inning as the Blue Jays avoided a three-game sweep.
Even Hernandez was impressed after Encarnacion sent a changeup into the second deck in left.
"Oh, man, that was long," Hernandez said. "That's a pretty good one right there. It was a good pitch, it was down."
Encarnacion's shot gave him 102 RBIs, the first time he has topped 100.
"I have eight years playing in the big leagues, I never got to 80," Encarnacion said. "It's not easy to get to 100 RBIs. Not many people make it to 100 RBIs so that's the bigger thing for me."
Lind's homer was a two-run shot to right in the first.
Henderson Alvarez (9-12) allowed three runs in seven innings to beat his childhood idol. Both pitchers were born in Valencia, Venezuela.
"(Hernandez) is the guy that I always follow," Alvarez said through a translator. "I'm always looking forward to see what he's doing so he can accomplish the same thing."
Alvarez, who walked three and struck out two, has won back-to-back starts for the first time since July 22-28.
"He was throwing hard and it looked like his velocity stayed with him throughout the game," Seattle's John Jaso said. "His fastball had good life on it and he kept it going."
Brad Lincoln and Aaron Loup each worked one inning of relief as Toronto avoided a sixth straight defeat to Seattle.
Trailing 2-0 on Lind's homer, the Mariners tied it in the second on Carlos Peguero 's two-run double over left fielder Rajai Davis .
Brett Lawrie 's two-run single put the Blue Jays ahead in the fourth, Colby Rasmus walked and Encarnacion followed with his homer. He moved one behind Texas slugger Josh Hamilton , who leads the major leagues with 41 homers.
"This is a very good right-handed power hitter," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Encarnacion. "He's having one heck of a year for us."
Jeff Mathis hit an RBI single off Carter Capps in the fifth for an 8-2 lead, and Dustin Ackley hit a solo homer off Alvarez in the seventh.
Mathis matched a career high with the third fourth-hit game of his big league career, his second this season.
NOTES: When Encarnacion's bat shattered on his groundout in the first inning, the barrel flew into the Blue Jays dugout and struck pitching coach Bruce Walton on a forearm. Walton, who sustained a bruise, was taken for precautionary X-rays. "Fortunately he was able to get his arms up in front of his face," Farrell said. "And that's where it was heading: right up into his head." Bullpen coach Pete Walker replaced Walton on Toronto's bench. ... Davis was nearly thrown out after making a big turn around first on his infield single in the third and was later thrown out at third after going too far round the bag on Mathis' bunt single. ... Blue Jays RHP Chad Jenkins is expected to head to Instructional League next week to get work as a starter, allowing him to be stretched out enough for a major league start before the end of the season. ... Seattle INF Carlos Triunfel doubled in the ninth, his first career hit.