SEATTLE (AP) - As the bad news continued to roll in for the Seattle Mariners, manager Eric Wedge was comforted by sending ace Felix Hernandez to the mound.
Only Hernandez couldn't stop the wave this time.
Hernandez was knocked around for 10 hits, three by Atlanta's Freddie Freeman, and the Braves completed a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win over the Mariners on Wednesday.
``I felt like Felix was really good early on, then kind of slipped out of it a little bit,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.
The loss was the capper to a miserable day for Seattle, which announced right before the first pitch that starting pitcher Erik Bedard was headed to the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee.
That announcement came on the heels of backup catcher Chris Gimenez going on the DL with a strained oblique after being forced to play six innings with the injury the night before because starter Miguel Olivo was having leg problems.
About the only good news on the injury front was Olivo is considered day to day, and the Mariners are off on Thursday.
The Braves' impressive sweep included victories over Bedard, rookie star Michael Pineda and Hernandez as Seattle (39-42) lost for the seventh time in nine games to fall three under .500 for the first time since May 21.
Early on, Hernandez looked ready to put a stop to the skid, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters - including six strikeouts.
But the Braves eventually got it going at the plate.
Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brooks Conrad had consecutive singles - none sharply hit, but all well placed - to give the Braves a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Then Hernandez lost control in the fifth, throwing a pair of wild pitches that allowed Nate McLouth to score following a leadoff walk. Jordan Schafer singled and Jason Heyward also walked in the inning ahead of Freeman's two-run single.
The Braves added another run in the seventh when Brian McCann continued his hot hitting with an RBI single.
Surprisingly, Hernandez (8-7) remained in the game until he walked McLouth with two out in the eighth on his 127th pitch - his second-highest total of the season. Each of the 10 hits he allowed were singles and it was the fourth time in his last five starts the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has allowed eight or more hits.
``A lot of the ground balls were up the middle,' Hernandez said. ``I'm not mad about the game. I made some good pitches.'
Wedge wasn't around to see most of it. He was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Emmel in the second inning after he became upset when Jack Cust was called out on a low third strike.
Wedge missed more of the same from Seattle's scuffling offense. Atlanta starter Derek Lowe (4-6) had allowed 13 earned runs in his previous three starts but the Mariners only got to him for Josh Bard's RBI single in the fifth.
Bard was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma earlier in the day to replace Gimenez.
The one bright spot continued to be prized rookie Dustin Ackley. He reached base for the 12th straight game to begin his major league career and capped his day by hitting a two-run homer off Jonny Venters in the eighth inning.
Ackley is now 6 for 8 against lefties and the homer was the first extra-base hit by a lefty off Venters since Sept. 22, 2010.
``Just lately, the lefties for some reason I've felt really good off them and found some holes,' Ackley said.
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 28 chances, including all three games in the sweep.
``You never thought you would sweep a series against those guys,' Freeman said. ``We battled against those pitchers and came out on top.'
NOTES Along with Bard, Seattle also selected C Jose Yepez from Tacoma to take Bedard's spot. Wedge said the Mariners will need to figure out a starter for Sunday's game against San Diego. ... Lowe had been receiving the second-lowest run support in the National League before Wednesday. ... Atlanta's Alex Gonzalez snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a single in the seventh inning.
Tim Booth can be reached at http://twitter.com/tjbooth7
The Associated Press News Service
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