Ken Griffey Jr. started what might be his final homestand with career homer No. 628, and Felix Hernandez added another strong effort to his AL Cy Young Award resume in the Seattle Mariners’ 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Griffey has been mostly evasive about his future plans following the end of the season, but the Mariners icon jolted the meager crowd that showed up on a chilly night with a three-run homer off Oakland starter Trevor Cahill in the fifth inning.
Cahill became the 406th different pitcher to give up a long ball to Griffey in his storied career. Cahill (10-13) was just 13 months old when Griffey smacked his first career homer off Eric King on April 10, 1989.
Griffey’s homer gave Seattle a 5-1 lead and was more than enough run support for Hernandez, who bolstered the best season of his young career on a night he didn’t have his best stuff.
Hernandez (18-5) struggled with his control, walking four and hitting two batters, but lasted 7 2-3 innings and improved to 7-1 since Aug. 1. He gave up seven hits, struck out four and threw a season-high 120 pitches in his next-to-last start of 2009.
Mark Lowe struck out Cliff Pennington to end the eighth after Hernandez loaded the bases with two outs. Seattle closer David Aardsma gave up a two-run single to Kurt Suzuki in the ninth, before getting the final two outs.
Oakland missed its opportunity to capitalize on Hernandez’s early struggles, failing to score with runners at first and second and no outs in the second, and with runners on second and third and two outs in the third.
Mark Ellis had an RBI single in the fourth, but the A’s left runners at second and third in that inning as well.
Hernandez is among the favorites for the Cy Young in the American League. For wins, he trails only CC Sabathia, who has 19, and his 2.48 ERA is second to Kansas City’s Zack Greinke (2.06).
Hernandez will start Sunday in the season finale against Texas.
Click here to read the full article – By TIM BOOTH of Courant.com
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