Through seven innings of his perfect game bid, Felix Hernandez has managed to do just what he needed to do: Throw as few pitches as possible and keep every ball in play for the Seattle Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays. After relying on seven strikeouts to carry him through the first six innings (including striking out the side in the sixth), Hernandez induced three ground outs to get to the eighth inning unscathed. Hernandez now has seven ground outs to go with his seven strikeouts, along with five fly outs and two line outs.
After the Mariners got a walk in the seventh but failed to advance him, it was back to work for Hernandez, and he advanced to the ninth inning in style by striking out the side. Hernandez went back to the strike out through the middle of the Rays order. He struck out Evan Longoria with a nasty curveball. He then took out Ben Zobrist with a filthy change-up, then sent Carlos Pena back to the dugout with another filthy curveball.
Hernandez is now up to ten strikeouts on the game and 98 pitches on the game. More importantly, he's three outs away from perfection.
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