SEATTLE -- When Felix Hernandez threw eight shutout innings with 12 strikeouts in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Indians, it was his 16th no-decision while throwing seven or more innings with one run or less.
That's the most by a Major League pitcher since Hernandez joined the Mariners in 2005. But this particular effort ranked among the best manager Eric Wedge said he's ever seen when it came to gritting out his final two outs with a pair of bases-loaded strikeouts as his pitch count reached 126 with a 1-0 lead.
"That eighth inning ranks up there," Wedge said. "When I went out to talk to him, I knew I was going to leave him in the game. I just wanted to give him a break and let him know where I was at. It wasn't exactly how I had it scripted out, but he got it done.
"When guys dig deep like that, it means a lot. It says a lot about what they're all about and what they're capable of. We've seen him do that multiple times, but that was impressive. I've had guys before that have had that ability to dig deep, but for him to be at that point in time with his pitch count rising, that was impressive."
Wedge wasn't wild about pushing Hernandez to 126 pitches, two shy of his career high, this early in the season. He'd thrown no more than 107 in his first three starts of the year. But the skipper said an off-day in the schedule Monday as well as the following Monday helps.
"It's further than you like to take him, but he had an extra day before that start and he'll have an extra day before his next start," Wedge said. "So you take that into consideration, too. The most important part of the equation is what you're seeing and how he's throwing and that was all good. That was all above board."