Facing eventual Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, Masterson was effectively wild. In six wobbly innings of work, Masterson allowed the leadoff hitter to reach four times and twice allowed a second hitter to reach base before recording an out. But Masterson battled to escape each jam without surrendering a run, a task made easier by a historically punchless Mariners offense.
In the first inning, with Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins on base, Masterson struck out Russell Branyan, retired Jose Lopez on a fly to short center field, then coaxed a grounder from Franklin Gutierrez to end the inning.
Easy as 1-2-3, Masterson shut down the M's in the second and third innings. Then, in the fourth, Shin-Soo Choo doubled Branyan off first on Lopez's fly out to right and Gutierrez struck out.
Masterson saved his best work for the fifth inning. A double by Casey Kotchman began the inning, followed by a walk to Adam Moore. With the game still scoreless, Michael Saunders attempted to bunt the runners to second and third, but Masterson wheeled and threw to third to force Kotchman. Chris Woodward walked to load the bases, bringing up Ichiro, who lined out to Matt LaPorta at first. Figgins improbably tried to bunt for a hit with two out, but LaPorta made the play unassisted and Masterson escaped unscathed.
For the game, Masterson pitched six scoreless innings, allowed just one hit and walked six while throwing just 49 of 100 pitches for strikes. If not for his poise with runners on base, his fielding, and his ability to induce ground balls, Masterson would surely have given up one or more runs. Ironically, these traits are often cited as evidence that his true calling lies in relief.
Hernandez, for his part, showed a rare lack of poise, melting down in the seventh inning of a still scoreless game after Luis Valbuena reached on a two-out error by Figgins. Seemingly shaken, Hernandez surrendered consecutive singles to Lou Marson and Michael Brantley to plate Valbuena. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double, scoring Marson, and Hernandez walked Choo intentionally, then served up a grand slam to Travis Hafner.
Daren Brown, the M's interim manager, mercifully pulled King Felix after this barrage. But because of the error, Hernandez didn't "earn" any of the six runs that scored, and his case for the Cy Young looked a little bit stronger.