Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez has surrendered 13 home runs total this season.
Four of those home runs came on Friday night against the Washington Nationals. With both teams tangled up in playoff races, the Mariners saw a rare slip-up from their ace en route to an 8-3 loss at home.
“It was a tough day,” Hernandez told the Tacoma News Tribune. “I couldn’t get out of the middle of the plate in the first four innings. It was up, and I got crushed.
Even more impressive is the fact that the Nationals hit these four home runs, six total for the game, at Safeco Field in Seattle. That is one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the league, especially for a nighttime affair such as this one. It has yielded more home runs since the fences were recently moved in, but it is still far from the kind of park that you imagine will host a six home run showing from one team.
With the loss, the Mariners (72-61) still hold the second wild card spot in the American League, though by only a slim margin over the surging Yankees (70-63). As for the Nationals (76-57), they are running away with the National League East, currently holding a six game lead.
If the Mariners reach the post-season, especially if they play in that one-game wild card round, having Hernandez stands to be a huge advantage. Friday night’s results didn’t change that fact, but they were all the more surprising since they came with the staff ace on the mound.