With the way Felix Hernandez threw, the Los Angeles lefty needed to be nearly perfect.
“I made enough good pitches to throw deep into the game,” Wilson said. “But I didn’t make enough good pitches to win the game.”
Wilson pitched into the eighth inning, but couldn’t match the gem thrown by Hernandez in Seattle’s 3-1 win over the Angels on Wednesday night. Hernandez took a shutout bid into the ninth inning, coming within one out of his first complete game since August 2012
Hernandez (7-1) became the seventh pitcher in Mariners history with seven victories before June 1. He won his fourth consecutive start with his most dominant performance of the season.
And he got all the offensive support he needed when catcher Mike Zunino lined a two-out, two-run single off Wilson in the second inning. Zunino added on with a solo homer off Wilson (6-4) on the first pitch of the eighth inning.
“At the end of the day if you let the same guy beat you twice that’s my mistake,” Wilson said. “He is a major league hitter trying to win the game for his team and I let him do it tonight.”
Wilson got in trouble in the second, giving up a leadoff single to Justin Smoak and walking Kyle Seager. John Buck grounded out, but was able to advance both runners, and Dustin Ackley fouled out behind third before Zunino snapped a 0-for-10 skid by slicing single into right field.
Wilson was frustrated about the entire inning, especially the walk to Seager and falling behind in the count to Zunino. Wilson gave up five hits and struck out five. He had won five of his previous six starts at Safeco Field.
“I made enough mistakes to lose the game myself,” Wilson said.
Hernandez was on the verge of his first complete game since Aug. 27, 2012 against Minnesota but could not get the 27th out. He cruised through the eighth, still hitting the mid-90s mph on the stadium radar gun and closed the inning striking out Hank Conger.
Hernandez had allowed just two hits when he jogged from the dugout to start the ninth to a big ovation while closer Fernando Rodney warmed up in the bullpen. He struck out Collin Cowgill swinging and retired Howie Kendrick on a fly ball.
But Hernandez couldn’t finish it off against two of the best hitters in baseball. Mike Trout singled and Albert Pujols’ RBI double ended Hernandez’s night at 116 pitches. He struck out nine and walked two. Rodney entered and got David Freese to line out for his 13th save of the season.
“He was strong. He felt great. It’s just tough there, you have to weigh the players but also what is good for the team,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I had my closer up and he was ready to go so we thought it was the best matchup.”
Hernandez struck out five of the first nine batters. Kendrick ended any thoughts of another special night from Hernandez with a solid single leading off the fourth. Trout then walked, but Hernandez skirted the jam thanks to Zunino throwing out Kendrick trying to steal third and Freese’s strikeout.