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King Felix flops at finish, Mariners lose 8-4

Associated Press Published: October 2, 2012
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SEATTLE (AP) — Nobody was better than Felix Hernandez in August.

"It was the best month that I've ever seen in my life," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.

Then the calendar turned, and so did Hernandez.

The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner finished his season Monday night with an ineffective outing in Seattle's 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. He allowed a season-high 12 hits and seven runs over 5 1-3 innings, falling to 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA after Aug. 27.

"I just tried to have a good game tonight and I didn't. It happens. I'm not frustrated, just try to get better for next year," said Hernandez, who was 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five August starts — including his perfect game on Aug. 15.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked three. He was trying for his third career sub-3.00 ERA season, but the Angels scored three times in the sixth, enough to push the number to 3.03.

"They laid off some tough pitches and hit a couple good pitches and they hit a couple mistakes," Wedge said. "They did a nice job against him tonight.

"It shouldn't take anything away from his season," the manager added. "It was another fantastic year by Felix. As we continue to improve, particularly on the offensive side, a Felix or a Jason Vargas will really benefit from that."

Hernandez finished with 223 strikeouts, currently third-highest in the AL and second-most in his career. It is his fourth straight season with 200-plus strikeouts.

Mike Trout had four hits and drove in three runs for the Angels, but it wasn't enough to keep them in the playoff chase. Los Angeles, with a high payroll and high expectations when the season started, was eliminated from the wild-card race when Oakland beat Texas 4-3.

The Angels just couldn't dig themselves out of an early season hole.

"Our expectations are higher than even the fans, media, anyone," said manager Mike Scioscia, who talked to his team for 20 minutes after the game. "We're disappointed."

The Angels, carrying the fourth-highest payroll in the majors, signed first baseman Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million deal during the offseason and then added left-hander C.J. Wilson for another $77.5 million. Those aggressive free-agent moves could earn the Angels (89-71) 90 victories but no postseason, even with one additional wild-card spot.

Pujols didn't have a home run in April as the Angels went 8-15 and were nine games out by May.

"We set ourselves back early in the year and never quite got back to the position we wanted to be. We paid a price for it," Scioscia said. "You can't cut out parts of the season and say we did this or we did that. The test of the season is 162 games. For 120 games-plus, we played great baseball."

The Angels put on a final rush by going 27-11 since Aug. 21, the best record in baseball. But they had too many games and teams to overcome.

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