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Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published August 27 2012

Hernandez shuts down Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – No matter what Liam Hendriks does on the mound, he can’t seem to come up with that elusive first career victory.

If he keeps pitching the way he did against Felix Hernandez on Monday night, that milestone should be right around the corner.

Hendriks struck out six and gave up just three hits in nine dazzling innings, but one was a homer to Eric Thames that lifted the Seattle Mariners to a 1-0 victory.

Thanks to King Felix’s brilliance – five strikeouts, five hits in nine dominant innings – Hendriks was left searching yet again. He fell to 0-7 on the season and 0-9 for his career when Thames’ homer just barely reached the flowerbed in left field in the eighth inning.

“You know it’s going to be tough going up against Felix Hernandez anytime you go out there against him,” Hendriks said with a shrug. “He pitched pretty well and got into some spots. It’s always hard when you’ve got a guy who can locate pitches like he does.”

Hernandez (13-5), who picked up his 23rd career complete game and ninth shutout, hasn’t lost a decision since June 12. He is 4-0 in 1-0 games this season, becoming just the third pitcher since 1969 to be that successful in 1-0 ballgames.

“I’m so upset,” said Ben Revere, who went 0-for-4. “We all are trying to get him his first MLB victory. It just doesn’t seem like he can catch a break. But he’s going to eventually get it.”

Joe Mauer had a single and Justin Morneau had a triple for the Twins, who have lost 14 of their last 17.

Hernandez’s brilliance came as no surprise. The Venezuelan has long been one of baseball’s best pitchers, and he’s on a roll these days even by his sterling standards. In his last 14 starts, he is 9-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 100 strikeouts, 17 walks and a perfect game. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer a staggering 16 times in 27 starts this season.

The Twins nearly got to Hernandez a couple of times, first on a deep drive from Trevor Plouffe in the third inning that center fielder Franklin Gutierrez had to leap to catch at the wall.

Mauer broke up the no-hitter with a two-out single in the fourth and Morneau led off the seventh with a triple. But Hernandez steeled himself and got Ryan Doumit, Plouffe and Jamey Carroll to ground out and keep Minnesota scoreless.

“We had a leadoff triple and four pitches later we were in the dugout,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Got to get a better pitch, got to get something up in the air and we weren’t able to do it. You tip your hat to the guy on the other side. That’s why he’s one of the best, if not the best, in the league.”

Seattle Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Ackley 2b 4 0 0 0 Span cf 4 0 0 0

Gutirrz cf 2 0 1 0 Revere rf 4 0 0 0

Seager 3b 3 0 0 0 Mauer c 4 0 1 0

JMontr dh 4 0 0 0 Wlngh dh 2 0 1 0

Jaso c 3 0 1 0 Mstrnn pr 0 0 0 0

Smoak 1b 3 0 0 0 Mornea 1b 4 0 1 0

Thams rf 3 1 1 1 Doumit lf 3 0 0 0

TRonsn lf 2 0 0 0 Plouffe 3b 3 0 1 0

Ryan ss 3 0 0 0 JCarrll 2b 3 0 0 0

Flormn ss 3 0 1 0

Totals 27 1 3 1 Totals 30 0 5 0

Seattle 000 000 010— 1

Minnesota 000 000 000— 0

E—Mauer (5). DP—Seattle 2, Minnesota 3. LOB—Seattle 3, Minnesota 5. 3B—Morneau (2). HR—Thames (7). SB—Gutierrez 2 (2).

IP H R ER BB SO

Seattle

Hernandz W,13-5 9 5 0 0 1 5

Minnesota

Hendriks L,0-7 9 3 1 1 3 6

HBP—by F.Hernandez (Willingham), by Hendriks (Gutierrez).

T—2:10. A—31,883 (39,500).