Hendriks shows his best but gets nothing in return

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 6:57 AM

Eric Thames' eighth-inning homer saddled him with a loss, but it didn't completely tarnish an efficient three-hitter.

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With Liam Hendriks matching Mariners ace Felix Hernandez zero-for-zero Monday night, Justin Morneau put the Twins rookie in position for his first major league victory in 14 starts with a leadoff triple in the seventh inning.

Then the feel-good night of the summer turned into more disenchantment for the Twins.

Hernandez stranded Morneau at third base, getting Ryan Doumit, Trevor Plouffe and Jamey Carroll on grounders, and Eric Thames homered off Hendriks to start the eighth inning.

King Felix did the rest, finishing his third shutout of the month as Seattle won 1-0 at Target Field, dropping the Twins to 3-15 in their past 18 games.

"We had a leadoff triple, and I think four pitches later we were in the dugout," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You've got to get a better pitch, got to get something up in the air. We weren't able to do it."

Hernandez (13-5) held the Twins to five hits, lowering his ERA to 2.43.

"That's why he's one of the best, if not the best in the league," Gardenhire said. "He made pitches when he had to, and we hit the ball at people."

The Twins were kicking themselves for blowing their big chance in the seventh inning, but at least Hendriks (0-7) showed how he has been able to go 38-20 with a 2.65 ERA in his minor league career.

"It's huge," Hendriks said. "I know I can compete, and I know I can even get better than this."

Gardenhire said even the outside fastball to Thames on the home run wasn't a bad pitch. Hendriks, 23, never had tossed more than seven innings as a big leaguer, but he went the distance this time, holding Seattle to three hits.

"That's what we've been waiting for; he can do that," Gardenhire said. "He's done it in his career, and now he's got to do it up here consistently. But this was a nice performance -- a fantastic one, matching one of the best pitchers in the game, inning for inning."


    7:10 tonight vs. Seattle • FSN (1500-AM)

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