Dodgers-Mariners: King Felix Shows the Midas Touch, Downs LA 5-1

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Dodgers-Mariners: King Felix Shows the Midas Touch, Downs LA 5-1

The Los Angeles Dodgers (48-27) were unable to break through offensively against the Seattle Mariners (38-36) and their ace right-hander Felix Hernandez.

The 23-year-old dominated the Dodgers lineup and dazzled a crowd of nearly 51,000 at Dodger Stadium.

Hernandez retired the side in order in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth. He went eight innings, and gave up just one unearned run while scattering four hits and striking out nine Dodger hitters. 

King Felix worked out of a jam in the first inning when the Dodgers had runners on first and third with Andre Ethier at the plate. Ethier flew out to right, ending the threat.

Aside from an unearned run in the third, Felix was lights out for the rest of the night. He allowed just one hit after the Ichiro error and kept the hometown Dodgers, who lead the league in hitting at .278 entering the game, off-balance all night long.

Hernandez came into the game with the third best road ERA in baseball, at 1.98. In his last six starts leading up to Saturday, he was 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

Dodgers’ southpaw Eric Milton made his first start since Jun. 5 and didn’t look sharp. He went just five innings, and despite striking out seven, he allowed four earned runs on seven hits.

Franklin Gutierrez got things rolling for the Mariners in the top of the second. Following a Jose Lopez single to begin the inning, Gutierrez lashed a double to deep right-center field that plated Lopez and put the visiting Mariners on top 1-0.

The Mariners kept the pressure on Milton in the third when Ichiro lead off with a single. The next batter, Russell Branyon, hit an RBI triple.

Two batters later, Ken Griffey Jr. hit career home run No. 620, a two-run bomb into the right field pavilion. Junior’s long ball extended the Mariners early lead to 4-0.

The Dodgers were able to answer in the bottom half of the inning, but only with a little help from Gold Glove winner Ichiro Suzuki in right field.

Casey Blake was safe at first on an Ichiro error, allowing Rafael Furcal to score and make the game 4-1. Furcal had two of the Dodgers five hits on the night.

Ichiro, however, had another fantastic night, going 3-5 and extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He also pushed his multi-hit game streak to seven, which matches a career high. Ichiro has done it three other times, in ‘01, ‘03, and ‘07.

Branyan added to the Dodgers misery when he hit a moon-shot home run to deep right field in the top of the ninth. Said Charlie Steiner on KABC radio, “It froze on the way up, and burned on re-entry.”

Los Angeles will look to rebound on Sunday afternoon behind Hiroki Kuroda, who was brilliant in his last start. He went eight and two-third innings against the White Sox and gave up just two runs while striking out a season high nine batters.

 

 

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WP: Hernandez (8-3)

LP: Milton (2-1)

 

Notes from Saturday night:

Just By a Hair

The Dodgers held the best ERA in the majors at 3.63 entering Saturday’s game. The Giants are second (3.67) and the Mariners are third (3.71).

The Blue Crew has allowed four earned runs or fewer in 17 of 23 games in June, good for a 3.38 ERA during the month. Of course, they allowed five on Saturday.

Don’t Pitch To Junior, Mr. Milton

Entering Saturday’s game, Ken Griffey Jr. had faced Eric Milton six times. He was 4-6 with a home run and four RBI in those at-bats. Not surprisingly, Junior took Milton deep for a two-run shot in the top of the third.

Interestingly enough, Milton was 1-5 with a 9.41 ERA in his career against the Mariners and didn’t fare much better this time around.

June Gloom Turning to June Bloom

The Dodgers are 13-9 in June need just one win in the next three games to assure themselves a winning record in the month. If they do so, it will be the first time the Dodgers ended June with a winning record since 2003 (14-11). 

 

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