CLEVELAND (AP) - The struggling Seattle Mariners could have used a strong outing from their ace Wednesday night.
Instead, Felix Hernandez wasn't up to the task and Seattle's long road trip got a little longer with a 9-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
The rare poor outing by Hernandez came at a bad time. The Mariners fell to 1-5 on their 10-game trip during which they have been outscored 34-14. Seattle has lost three straight.
Hernandez (3-3) lasted only 3 2-3 innings and threw 103 pitches. He allowed eight runs and 10 hits while issuing three walks and striking out three. Shoddy defense behind him made two of the four runs the Indians scored in the first inning unearned.
``Felix just had an off-day,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``He's human. I think sometimes we forget about that.'
Dustin Ackley's two-run homer in the third was Seattle's only bright spot. Ackley, who was 3 for 4, extended his hitting streak to 12 games during which he is batting .333 (15 for 45).
The Mariners won eight of their first 12 road games but are 1-11 away from home since April 28. Seattle began the trip with two losses in New York before winning the series finale. The Mariners lost both games in Boston and end the trip with three games in Colorado.
Hernandez and Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez combined for a 34-minute, 59-pitch first inning that ended with Cleveland ahead 4-1. While Jimenez (4-3) gave up five hits and three runs in six innings, Hernandez never could find his rhythm.
``Everything was flat today,' he said. ``They got me pretty good. I fell behind a lot. When you fall behind you're in trouble.'
Hernandez struck out a season-high 12 in eight scoreless innings against Cleveland on April 19, but didn't earn a decision because closer Brandon League blew the lead in the ninth in a 2-1 loss. Hernandez was 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his previous three starts against the Indians. His latest outing was much different. After his rocky first inning in which he threw 32 pitches, Hernandez appeared to right himself by holding the Indians scoreless in the second and third.
The right-hander didn't get through the fourth when Cleveland scored four times on five hits.
``The sinker was not there,' Hernandez said. ``They came out with a good approach. They were swinging early (in the count).'
``Up and down the lineup, we did a good job,' Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. ``To put a 4-spot up against him in the first inning, we felt like we had a chance.'
Hernandez has lost twice on this trip. He allowed four runs and a season-high 11 hits in a 6-2 loss to New York on Friday after he had given up four runs in his previous five starts combined.
Seattle's stretch of solid defense came to a halt, thanks to throwing errors on the same play by catcher Jesus Montero and left fielder Chone Figgins. The Mariners had gone 10 straight games without an error, one shy of the club record set Aug. 9-21, 1993.
Jimenez opened the game by yielding singles to Ackley and Michael Saunders, then uncorked a wild pitch that put runners at second and third. Ackley scored when Ichiro Suzuki grounded out.
Hernandez gave up singles to the first two men he faced, Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis. He then hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch to load the bases.
Choo scored on a passed ball by Montero, and Kipnis came home on a hard-hit ball by Travis Hafner that was turned into a groundout when Ackley made a diving stop and threw to first.
Carlos Santana walked and with two outs and Cabrera on third, Santana took off for second. Montero threw wildly past third, trying to get Cabrera leading off the bag. That error scored Cabrera and when Figgins threw the ball back past Montero for another error, Santana scored to make it 4-1.
``We threw the ball around a little bit that inning,' Wedge said. ``We were aware of that situation on the delay (steal) and what might happen. It's one of those things for a young catcher. You experience something you haven't experienced before. You make a mistake and you learn from it.'
Ackley's two-run homer, his third, got Seattle within 4-3 in the third on what he thought was an unconventional swing.
``It kind of felt weird,' he said. ``I didn't see that pitch early on in the other at_bats. It was a different swing for me. He threw me a splitter and it hung up stayed in a little. I was able to get the barrel to it. Fortunately, right field isn't too far and I was able to sneak it out over there.'
Hafner hit his fifth homer and drove in three runs, while Choo had three hits in Cleveland's third straight win. Kipnis, Hafner and Santana all had RBI doubles in the fourth. Michael Brantley singled home Santana to make it 8-3.
Notes: Seattle LF Mike Carp was a late scratch with a stiff right shoulder, aggravated during pregame warmups. He sprained the shoulder in the season opener in Japan and spent four weeks on the DL. ... Seattle went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and is 6 for 78 (.077) in that situation in its last 12 road games. ... Seattle SS Brendan Ryan is 0 for 12 on the trip and in a 5-for-56 slump (.089).
The Associated Press News Service
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