SEATTLE (AP) — For a pitcher the caliber of Felix Hernandez, the former Cy Young Award winner who tossed a perfect game just three weeks ago, it can be a shock when he's imperfect.
Hernandez (13-7) threw 96 pitches in just 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since May 16, a 6-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Friday night. He gave up five earned runs, 11 hits — matching his season high — walked one and struck out four.
It was the second straight loss for the 2010 Cy Young winner. He had been 9-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his previous 15 starts since June 17, with five shutouts, including the perfect game on Aug. 15.
"I was fine in the bullpen. It was one of those games," Hernandez said. "It's more frustrating when you have nothing going on. That's what happened tonight."
A.J. Griffin allowed just one run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, walking one and striking out seven. George Kottaras hit a three-run homer and Cliff Pennington had a season-high four hits as the A's subdued the Mariners' ace.
"You know as a starting pitcher and you have Felix on the other side, you better be pretty good," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That puts a little added pressure on the opposing pitcher. I know he'll probably say it doesn't but everyone knows who Felix is, especially the way he's been pitching the last couple months."
Griffin (5-0), in his 10th start in his rookie season, has also pitched well the past couple months. He has yet to lose and now has a 3-0 record, a 1.54 ERA, and a .218 opponent batting average in four road starts.
"You just have to worry about your job. You have no control over what (Hernandez) does out there," Griffin said. "I just try to pitch the best game I can, do the best I can, keep us in the game and we did that."
Josh Donaldson drew a one-out walk in the fourth inning and was followed by a Stephen Drew single to set up Kottaras' three-run shot, on a 1-1 pitch from Hernandez. It was Kottaras' fourth home run.
"It was down a little bit, like middle in, and he got that one pretty good," Hernandez said.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said "it was one of those days where Felix has been so good for so long, he was just a little off today."
Hernandez said "every pitch was up. I fell behind a couple of times, well, not a couple, a lot of times and they just made me pay. All my pitches. It was not my day today."
Catcher John Jaso said Hernandez, "was still better than average but the A's are a hot team. Once they got a little momentum going, it was tough to battle them."