In losing the middle game of their series at Safeco Field, the San Francisco Giants received another sub-par performance from their Cy Young Award-winning pitcher.
The Seattle Mariners can certainly relate.
Felix Hernandez again tries to break out of his prolonged slump in Sunday's finale with a Giants team countering with Madison Bumgarner, who is looking to win his fourth straight start.
Pitching for the first time at the major league level in his home state, Tim Lincecum allowed five runs and five hits over five innings in Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Mariners (28-39). The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner dropped to 0-6 with a 6.44 ERA in his nine outings since the start of May - all losses for San Francisco (37-29).
Hernandez (4-5, 3.70 ERA) finds himself in a similar funk. In his last six starts, the 2010 AL Cy Young winner has a 6.37 ERA, causing his mark for the season to jump nearly two runs from 1.89.
"I'm tired of pitching like that,' he said after allowing five runs, nine hits and three walks in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to offensively challenged San Diego. "I've got to do something about this.'
As bad as things are going, Hernandez was in a similar position at this point of the 2010 season. The right-hander had a 3.77 ERA on June 8 before posting a 1.48 ERA the rest of the way to go on to win the Cy Young.
His start against the Padres was his first in 11 days after he left his outing against the Chicago White Sox on June 1 with a stiff back. He didn't blame his poor performance on the injury or extended time between starts.
"I was fine. My body feels good," Hernandez told the Mariners' official website.
Seattle, which hasn't won with Hernandez on the mound since May 21, snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday. After hitting .200 with 13 total runs during the skid, the Mariners got first-inning homers from Casper Wells and Jesus Montero.
Montero finished with three of Seattle's 12 hits, and Ichiro Suzuki's fifth-inning single brought him within one hit of 2,500 for his career.
"It was really nice to see us score some runs here at home and put something together like we did tonight,' manager Eric Wedge said.
While Seattle's offense came to life against the struggling Lincecum, it could revert to its sputtering ways when facing Bumgarner (8-4, 3.08) for the first time.
In 7 2-3 innings against Houston on Tuesday, the left-hander allowed two runs and six hits and also hit his first career home run in a 6-3 victory. He walked none and struck out a season-high 12 for his third double-digit strikeout performance in his last five starts.
This could spell trouble for Seattle, which ranks second in the AL with 522 strikeouts.
Hernandez has a 3.21 ERA in winning his two career starts against the Giants - he's allowed four homers in 14 innings, though - with the most recent meeting coming in 2009.
San Francisco's Melky Cabrera, 3 for 11 lifetime against Hernandez, had an RBI single Saturday after hitting a two-run homer in Friday's 4-2 win. He's batting .417 over his last 25 games.
The Associated Press News Service
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