Pedroia: Hernandez 'was pretty special tonight'

Pedroia: Hernandez 'was pretty special tonight'
June 29, 2012, 6:57 am
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SEATTLE -- It took a great performance by perhaps the best pitcher in the American League to beat the Red Sox Thursday night.
That's exactly what Felix Hernandez delivered.
Hernandez fanned 13, tying a career high, while shutting out the Sox in a complete-game shutout, 1-0.
He allowed just five hits, all of them singles, and walked just one.
"He was great,'' said Dustin Pedroia, who was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts. "That's the best we've seen him. His stuff was moving all over the place. He kept the ball out of the middle of the plate. He was pretty special tonight.''
"He was King Felix,'' said Cody Ross, who was fanned twice in three hitless at-bats. "He was as good as I've ever seen him -- just pounding the strike zone, getting calls off the plate. When you're facing a guy like that and he's getting generous calls off the plate, chances are, he's going to throw up a lot of zeroes.
"We had our chances. We had our chances to score and couldn't come up with a big hit.''
The two best chances for the Sox came in the third and again in the top of the ninth.
In the third, with runners at first and second and two out, Pedroia hit a ball to left-center. But Franklin Gutierrez, among the game's best outfielders, ran it down, ending the threat.
Gutierrez later left the game after being struck in the ear on a pickoff attempt at first base. But his replacement, Michael Saunders, made a similarly impressive catch in the ninth.
The Sox then had first-and-second with one out, and Hernandez engaged in an epic at-bat with Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez drove the ball to the left-center gap, but Saunders raced over and made the plate. When Will Middlebrooks popped to second, Hernandez was out of the jam.
Safeco Field is a spacious ballpark, and Gonzalez was a victim of the dimensions.
"Definitely the wrong place to hit that ball,'' he said. "He fell behind 3-and-0 and I was trying to get his fastball. He made a good pitch 3-and-0, then made a good pitch 3-and-1. Then, when he got to 3-and-2, you don't know if he's going to changeup or he's going to go curveball or if he's going to go his fastball.
"He kept throwing good pitches, good fastballs middle-away. He just kept spotting that fastball good. He left one over the middle of the plate and I Was able to hit it good, just not great. It's probably off the wall in a lot of ballparks.''
But not Safeco, on a night that wasn't the Red Sox' night.