SEATTLE (AP) — Felix Hernandez insists he’s perfectly fine, even if the results have taken a drastic turn over his past three starts.
Hernandez is looking mortal. And that’s a concern for the Seattle Mariners postseason hopes.
Anthony Rendon hit the first of Washington’s four homers off Hernandez, and the Nationals showed off their power in an 8-3 victory over the Mariners on Friday night that snapped a three-game losing streak.
Rendon hit a solo shot in the first, and Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos also connected against Hernandez (13-5). It was the first time Hernandez has allowed four homers in a game.
“They had a good approach just being aggressive,” Hernandez said. “If you can’t stay out of the middle and get good command with your fastball you are going to get hit.”
Werth’s two-run shot in the third gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead and Desmond added his 22nd an inning later.
Hernandez lasted seven innings and was charged with five runs and 10 hits. He is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in his last three starts.
After setting a major league record with 16 consecutive starts of seven innings and two or fewer runs, Hernandez has struggled. Seattle pushed Hernandez back an extra day, but the move backfired. Hernandez had been 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA this season when starting after getting five or more days of rest.
“Felix is human. We ask a lot of him and I think he is up for the challenge but he is human. And the other team is getting paid too. It’s going to happen,” said Seattle bench coach Trent Jewett, filling in for manager Lloyd McClendon.
McClendon is away from the team for his daughter’s wedding.
Rendon jumped on a first-pitch fastball in the middle of the strike zone for his 18th homer. The homers for Desmond and Ramos against Hernandez also came on pitches up in the zone. Werth golfed a breaking ball out to deep left-center field.
Bryce Harper and Ramos went deep in the eighth against Joe Beimel. Seattle lost consecutive games for the first time in more than a month and fell a game behind Detroit in the race for the second wild card in the American League.
“I think they were patient enough to get good pitches to hit,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “When he’s successful he’s throwing the ball and it looks like it’s in the zone and it’s not. We got balls up in the strike zone today.”
THE OTHER GUY
Jordan Zimmermann (10-5) struck out eight in six innings for Washington. He allowed two runs and seven hits while improving to 4-0 in six August starts.
Dustin Ackley tripled and scored on Kendrys Morales’ single in the first for Seattle, and Kyle Seager’s infield single scored Robinson Cano. Seattle missed a chance in the third with runners at the corners and one out, only to see Zimmermann get strikeouts of Seager and Mike Zunino to end the threat.
“Tough game, bad game. Nothing else you can do,” Cano said.
The Nationals entered Friday fifth in the National League in homers, but the long-ball outburst was surprising considering the starting pitcher and the ballpark. Washington had six games with three or more homers this season, but the six long balls were the most for the Nationals since 2012. It was the eighth time in franchise history hitting six homers.
Nationals: Werth got the nod at designated hitter against Hernandez to give his sore ankle a break.
Mariners: Michael Saunders went through a pregame workout as he continues working back from a viral infection that saw him lose 12 pounds. Saunders was on a rehab assignment when he fell ill and there is no timetable yet for his return.
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (10-10) will make his 29th start. He won his previous two decisions to get back to .500 for the season. He got a no-decision in his last start against San Francisco giving up five earned runs in four innings.
Mariners: Seattle made a switch and will throw left-hander Roenis Elias (9-11) on Saturday night. Chris Young will get a couple extra days of rest and will throw Monday’s series opener in Oakland. Elias has lost three of his last four starts and hasn’t pitched six innings since late June.
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