Felix Hernandez eyes his seventh straight winning decision on Tuesday when the Seattle Mariners play the middle test of their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field.
Hernandez was denied his 12th win on Thursday in Boston, but through no fault of his own, as he allowed just a run and six hits in seven innings. He also struck out eight, but did not factor in the decision as the Seattle bullpen gave up seven runs over the final two innings in an 8-7 loss.
"That's a really tough loss for us because of how Felix was pitching and we couldn't get it done," said Oliver Perez, who absorbed the loss in that one.
Hernandez has been phenomenal of late for Seattle, allowing just two runs in his last four starts, while not allowing more than two in and of his last seven. He is 11-4 on the year and leads the American League with a 2.30 ERA.
While the former AL Cy Young Award winner has pitched to a 1.41 ERA over his last seven starts, Toronto's Josh Johnson is in the midst of a miserable stretch that has seen him lose six consecutive starts and surrender at least five runs in his last four.
"We have to look at alternatives at some point if this continues," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told the team's website. "It's really start to start at this point. That's really the only way to characterize it. Right now, he's going to make one more start and we'll see how he does but we'll continue to evaluate it each time."
Johnson was again awful on Thursday in Anaheim, as the Angels ripped him for seven runs (6 earned) and 10 hits in just 2 1/3 innings, dropping him to 1-8 on the year to go along with a 6.60 ERA.
Toronto drew first blood in this series on Monday, as Mark DeRosa's pinch-hit, two-run single capped a three-run eighth inning and boosted the Blue Jays to a 3-1 win. Jose Reyes added an RBI single for Toronto, which has won two in a row.
R.A. Dickey (9-11) snapped a five-start winless stretch. The knuckleball specialist allowed eight hits and fanned five to pick up his first victory since July 1 against Detroit.
Casey Janssen retired the side in order in the ninth on three ground balls to DeRosa.
Hisashi Iwakuma (10-5) was charged with four hits and two runs over 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander had won his previous three decisions, but suffered his first defeat since July 4 at Texas.
Seattle took two of three from the Blue Jays when these teams met up in Toronto from May 3-5.