SEATTLE — Felix Hernandez insists he’s perfectly fine, even if the results have taken a drastic turn over his past three starts.
Hernandez is looking mortal. And that’s a concern for the Seattle Mariners postseason hopes.
Anthony Rendon hit the first of Washington’s four homers off Hernandez, and the Nationals showed off their power in an 8-3 victory over the Mariners on Friday night that snapped a three-game losing streak.
Rendon hit a solo shot in the first, and Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos also connected against Hernandez (13-5). It was the first time Hernandez has allowed four homers in a game.
“They had a good approach just being aggressive,” Hernandez said. “If you can’t stay out of the middle and get good command with your fastball you are going to get hit.”
Werth’s two-run shot in the third gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead and Desmond added his 22nd an inning later.
Hernandez lasted seven innings and was charged with five runs and 10 hits. He is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in his last three starts.
After setting a major league record with 16 consecutive starts of seven innings and two or fewer runs, Hernandez has struggled. Seattle pushed Hernandez back an extra day, but the move backfired. Hernandez had been 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA this season when starting after getting five or more days of rest.
“Felix is human. We ask a lot of him and I think he is up for the challenge but he is human. And the other team is getting paid too. It’s going to happen,” said Seattle bench coach Trent Jewett, filling in for manager Lloyd McClendon.
McClendon is away from the team for his daughter’s wedding.
Rendon jumped on a first-pitch fastball in the middle of the strike zone for his 18th homer. The homers for Desmond and Ramos against Hernandez also came on pitches up in the zone. Werth golfed a breaking ball out to deep left-center field.
Bryce Harper and Ramos went deep in the eighth against Joe Beimel. Seattle lost consecutive games for the first time in more than a month and fell a game behind Detroit in the race for the second wild card in the American League.
“I think they were patient enough to get good pitches to hit,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “When he’s successful he’s throwing the ball and it looks like it’s in the zone and it’s not. We got balls up in the strike zone today.”
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