SEATTLE (AP) — Now in his 10th season, Felix Hernandez accomplished a first on Monday night.
His first ejection. And it came as he was leaving the field.
“I’m a pro baseball player now. First ejection,” Hernandez joked.
Hernandez got plenty of run support with the Seattle Mariners scoring a season high in runs in a 12-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays that featured two early drives off the top of the wall requiring video reviews on consecutive batters.
Hernandez (4-1) won for the first time in more than a month. He took a shutout bid into the seventh inning, then gave up a three-run double to Ryan Hanigan with two outs and was pulled.
At that point, Hernandez was fuming over what he felt was a tightened strike zone from plate umpire Mark Ripperger. On his way off the mound, Hernandez had a few words for Ripperger.
Hernandez said he couldn’t repeat anything he uttered.
“I’m sure he got his money’s worth. I didn’t understand everything he said,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I kind of knew it was going to happen because he was not happy.”
James Jones doubled, singled and scored in each of the first three innings as the Mariners took a 9-0 lead. Robinson Cano drove in Jones twice.
They weren’t alone at providing production at the top of Seattle’s order. Stefan Romero homered, doubled and singled and Corey Hart had two hits and two RBIs.
“You could say we’re the table-setters,” Romero said. “Especially early on (James) set the tone early and just moved him over for Cano and luckily found the right hole and it kept snowballing.
Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer and Mike Zunino added a solo shot for Seattle.
The rare back-to-back replays came in the first inning as Cano and then Hart both barely missed home runs on fly balls that hit the yellow line atop the fence and bounced back. Umpires ruled both balls in play, and their calls were confirmed.
Cano wound up with a double on his drive to left field, Hart was thrown out trying for a double on his shot to right.
“That was pretty weird. You had nothing to lose by asking them to review them,” McClendon said. “I kind of knew Robby’s wasn’t. I thought Corey’s was because of that railing back there.”
Cesar Ramos (1-2) was tagged for 11 hits and nine runs in the first three innings, and pitched into the seventh. Tampa Bay didn’t help itself, tying a team record by making three errors in the second inning. The Rays also had an error in the first inning.
“We got ambushed. We just sashayed into the canyon and they were firing from both sides,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Hernandez rebounded from a rough last four starts. It was his first start for the Rays since Aug. 15, 2012, when he tossed a perfect game at Safeco Field.
That day was the crowning achievement of Hernandez’s career; Monday was just a chance for Hernandez to rediscover his groove.
The Seattle ace was slowed recently by a flu bug. Finally healthy, Hernandez began finding the same success that had him going so well to begin the season.
After not striking out anyone in his last start against Oakland, Hernandez fanned seven. He didn’t walk a batter and gave up eight hits.
Hernandez retired the first five batters to run his hitless streak against the Rays to 34 batters before Wil Myers reached on an infield single with two outs in the second.
“When Felix sees a lot of runs come up on the board early on it gives him a sense of security and sense of relaxation out there,” Romero said.
NOTES: Ramos stayed in to save Tampa Bay’s bullpen and was able to get through 6 2-3 innings. He didn’t allow a hit after the third. … Rays LHP David Price will make his first career start at Safeco Field on Tuesday. It’s just his second start against Seattle in his career. … Cano has reached safely in 21 straight games.
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