SEATTLE — For the major league-record 16th straight time, Felix Hernandez pitched at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs. The Mariners also gave the “King” plenty of run support.
Robinson Cano highlighted a seven-run sixth inning with a homer and an RBI double, as Seattle blasted the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-1, in the opener of a three-game series.
Hernandez (13-3) allowed three hits, including a home run to Jose Bautista in the fourth inning. Hernandez had eight strikeouts. He leads the American League with a 1.95 ERA.
“I’m running out of words for Felix,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Tonight he stepped up and gave us a great performance.”
The lightning and thunder could be heard a short distance from Safeco Field during Seattle’s huge inning, but it was the bats that made the loudest noise for a team chasing a playoff spot. The Mariners are currently a game out of the final wild card slot, while Toronto fell two back.
Mike Zunino and Brad Miller had RBI triples during the huge inning, as the Mariners posted their sixth win in seven games.
Drew Hutchison (8-10) gave up seven hits and six runs over 5 2/3 innings. Brad Mills was torched for three hits and five runs over the ensuing 2 1/3 frames, as the Blue Jays suffered their seventh loss in 10 contests.
Colby Rasmus doubled to start the top of the second, but he was thrown out trying to advance to third on Dioner Navarro’s ground ball.
Bautista homered to left-center, but the Mariners went ahead in the bottom portion. Cano walked, Kendrys Morales doubled and Kyle Seager lifted a sacrifice fly. Zunino then singled in Morales.
“I thought they were very professional at-bats. We grinded them out,” McClendon said of the fourth inning. “You still have to come back and do it again. Our guys did a pretty good job.”
Cano homered to left leading off the sixth. Zunino’s hit off the base of the wall in right made it 4-1. Endy Chavez later doubled to left to drive in Zunino. Mills then entered, but Miller tripled to right field. Dustin Ackley had a two-run single and Cano nearly hit his second homer of the inning, but the ball caromed high off the wall in left for a 9-1 cushion.
Seager scored on a force out grounder by pinch-hitter James Jones in the seventh and Miller tacked on a sacrifice fly.
The Mariners are 13-1 in games played on Monday … Seattle is 16-8 versus the Blue Jays at Safeco Field since 2007 … Hernandez (2,005) joined Jamie Moyer (2,093) as the only pitchers to toss 2,000 innings in a Mariners uniform. Hernandez is the first big league pitcher to reach 2,000 innings pitched during his age-28 season since Dwight Gooden (1984-1993). He came into Monday 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in three home starts against Toronto … The Mariners optioned pitcher Erasmo Ramirez to Tacoma and recalled Jones from the Triple-A club … Logan Morrison extended his hitting streak to 12 games for Seattle.