ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Felix Hernandez struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven scoreless innings of work. And yet it wasn't good enough for him to get the win on Sunday.
But his team was still victorious.
The Seattle Mariners broke a scoreless tie by scoring five runs in the top of the ninth against Tampa Bay Rays closer Grant Balfour for a 5-0 victory.
Seattle is now 33-29 on the season.
The late rally was ignited by the unlikeliest of people--Brad Miller. The young shortstop, who came in the game with a .169 batting average, hammered a line drive down the right-field line just out of the reach of a leaping James Loney. With Miller on third, Balfour walked Willie Bloomquist to bring Endy Chavez to the plate.
The veteran outfielder, who was just called up few weeks ago, punched at a 0-2 cut fastball, squibbing a soft liner just past Yunel Escobar at shortstop to put the Mariners up 1-0.
Seattle wasn't done. James Jones broke the game open, lacing a triple over the head of right fielder Kevin Kiermaier to score two runs. Robinson Cano drew a walk and Kyle Seager doubled just inside the right field line to score two more runs.
But the real story was Hernandez, who turned in possibly his best outing other than his perfect game.
He was basically unhittable, striking out batter after batter. He allowed just four hits and walked one, but was in total control
At 100 pitches after seven innings, McClendon called on the bullpen, which delivered.
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