Baseball / MLB

Teary-eyed Felix Hernandez bids farewell to Seattle

AP

When the time finally arrived for Felix Hernandez to say goodbye to Seattle and all the history of 15 seasons with one franchise, his manager had a message as he walked off the mound.

“You will always be the king in this town,” Scott Servais said to Hernandez as he took the ball.

With tears in his eyes, the emotional Hernandez walked off the mound as a Mariner probably for the last time in his career on Wednesday night. He was the losing pitcher in a 3-1 loss to Oakland as the Athletics moved to the brink of clinching an AL wild-card berth.

It was his final start in his final year under contract with Seattle, the only place he’s called home as a professional. Both sides seem ready for a separation, which turned the night into a farewell and thank you all wrapped into one.

He wasn’t the “King Felix” of his dominant years on this night. He was a 33-year-old pitcher looking for one more magical outing to thrill the thousands of fans who turned out for his farewell.

“I didn’t want to just give up five runs in five innings. I wanted to go out there and do my job and just give the team a chance to win,” Hernandez said. “That was a fun night.”

Unfortunately for Hernandez (1-8), Oakland had something to play for and wasn’t willing to go along with festivities. The Athletics can clinch one of the two wild-card spots in the AL with a win or Cleveland loss on Friday.

Matt Olson had an RBI single in the first inning and Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer in the second. Sean Manaea (4-1) allowed one run in six innings and Liam Hendriks got his 25th save.

From the start, this night was a tribute to one of the Mariners’ greats, who will be remembered in the same regard as Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez for his loyalty to the franchise and performance on the mound during his best seasons. He brought Seattle a Cy Young Award and a perfect game.

More so, Hernandez had chances to leave and never did, which made the night so emotional.

“I was walking to the bullpen and my eyes started to (get) wet and I was like ‘not right now.’ It’s hard to do it,” Hernandez said. “There were a lot of emotions out there. I’ve been here for 15 years and there is a lot of stuff going on.”

Hernandez is Seattle’s all-time leader in wins (169), strikeouts (2,524), innings (2,729⅔) and games started (418).

Dodgers 1, Padres 0

In San Diego, Clayton Kershaw shut down the Padres for six innings in his final regular-season start and Chris Taylor scored from first base on Max Muncy’s single in the sixth to lead the seven-time NL West champion Los Angeles to a victory and a three-game sweep.

Kershaw (16-5) allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one.

He improved to 13-0 in his last 19 starts against San Diego. He hasn’t lost to the Padres since June 21, 2013.

Dodgers reliever Kenta Maeda came on with Wil Myers aboard on a leadoff single in the ninth and retired the side for his third save. He struck out Manny Machado, who was with the Dodgers for the second half of 2018 and their World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox, and Hunter Renfroe before getting Seth Mejias-Brean to fly out.

In Other Games

Brewers 5, Reds 3

White Sox 8, Indians 0

Angels 4, Astros 3 (12)

Twins 10, Tigers 4

Nationals 6, Phillies 3

Rangers 7, Red Sox 5

Marlins 4, Mets 2

Giants 8, Rockies 3

Pirates 9, Cubs 5

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5