SEATTLE -- Someday the A's will solve Felix Hernandez. Presumably.
For now, they simply have to admire his artistry.
The Mariners ace, backed by a yellow-shirted Safeco Field cadre known as the Supreme Court, was all but untouchable Friday night in pitching Seattle to a 6-4 win, his 17th victory in 24 decision over the A's.
Oakland got Hernandez out of the game in the eighth inning. The Seattle ace, who didn't allow a run for seven innings, ultimately was charged with two runs.
That line didn't adequately describe his dominance. He walked no one and struck out 11. The yellow-shirts, part of a promotion for each of Hernandez's home starts, were screaming for strikeouts all night, and Hernandez didn't disappoint.
The A's will have a different look for Game 2 of the series Saturday. Coco Crisp, who pinch hit and struck out for the game's final out, is finally healthy and will be in center field.
And then the A's are looking to move outfielder Craig Gentry from the disabled list to the active roster, and they need to make a move.
Logic would suggest an outfielder-for-outfielder move that would send Sam Fuld down with the A's knowing they'd probably lose him to a waiver claim. Or they could move first baseman Daric Barton, who hasn't hit this season (.100) and who Friday added defensive miscues to a troubled resume that already included a major baserunning gaffe.
The A's seemed to be puzzling over that one heading into the weekend, because if they were to put Barton through waivers, he likely would not be claimed. He went through waivers twice last year without another team snapping him up.
It was Barton who got the A's going in the eighth inning when Hernandez hit him with a pitch. Eric Sogard followed with a single, and with runners on the corners. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon went to the bullpen. It wasn't pretty. The A's scored four times on a bases-loaded walk, a single, a run-scoring grounder and a wild pitch.
If Josh Donaldson hadn't been called out on strikes, a pitch he thought was low, the A's might have reclaimed the game right there.
"That was the key call, right there," Donaldson said. At the time he was batting with the bases loaded and no one out. "You don't know what's going to happen after that."
Donaldson made one of the two errors charged to Oakland that helped Seattle score its first three runs off starter Tommy Milone. The left-hander hadn't pitched in a game since the last week of March because of rainouts. And while he was charged with five runs (three earned) in five-plus innings, manager Bob Melvin said, "Tommy pitched way better than his line suggests."
In the first, Barton failed to get an out on consecutive balls hit his way. Neither was charged as an error, but the run Milone gave up probably wouldn't have scored without an assist from Barton. Three innings later it was back-to-back errors by third baseman Donaldson and shortstop Jed Lowrie that led to two runs.
So the only runs Milone should really feel badly about were the ones that came on Mike Zunino's two-run homer in the sixth.
"It was good to get out there again," Milone said. "Errors and stuff are part of the game. It's tough to look at that line and be happy about it."
The A's had four hits and precious little else against Hernandez, who beat them for the second time in a week. He surrendered six hits and one run in 81/3 innings Saturday in the Coliseum, striking out eight.
He struck out 11 this time, saving two of the Ks for a key moment in the fourth. With the A's down just one and having runners on first and second, Hernandez struck out the heart of the A's order -- Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes.
A's (Sonny Gray 1-0) at Seattle (Erasmo Ramirez 1-1), 6:10 p.m. CSNCA
BOW TO THE KING
Seattle ace Felix Hernandez continued his ownership of the A's on Friday. Here are his career stats against Oakland:
GS W L ERA IP ER
30 16 7 2.60 208 60