SEATTLE—Felix Hernandez has done so much on the mound for the Seattle Mariners in his stellar career.
But on chilly Friday night in front of a packed Safeco Field—most of them holding up “K” placards and wearing free bright gold T-shirts bearing his name—the Mariners’ ace added to another accomplishment into his growing chapter of the organization’s record book.
Hernandez delivered another stellar outing much to the delight of the 38,968 fans in attendance, pitching seven innings and giving up two earned runs on four hits, while striking out 11, in the Mariners’ 6-4 win over the Oakland A’s.
He has three wins in three starts—something he’s never done in his years with the Mariners. He becomes the first Mariners pitcher to pick up three wins in the first nine games of the season. Only five other pitchers have accomplished the feat in the past decade.
It was the 28th time in his career he struck out 10 or more batters and 25th since 2009. The 25 starts with 10 strikeouts or more since 2009 are the second most in baseball behind onetime teammate Cliff Lee, who has 26.
But records mean little to Hernandez. He often shrugs at them much like questions about streaks or lack of run support, something that wasn’t lacking on Friday.
The A’s gifted the Mariners three runs with fielding miscues, while Mike Zunino blasted a two-run homer and Brad Miller ripped a solo homer in the sixth inning to provide plenty of runs for Hernandez to work with.
A’s hitters were totally baffled. Five different players struck out twice and only two balls were hit with any sort of authority off Hernandez. Sadly, they’ve been on the receiving end of these types of performances far too often.
Hernandez has a 17-7 record against the A’s in 31 career starts. It’s the most wins against any team he has faced in his career.
The Mariners gave Hernandez run support immediately. Abraham Almonte led off the bottom of the first with a double to left field off A’s starter Tommy Milone. Almonte moved to second on Miller’s bunt base hit. Robinson Cano scored Almonte with an infield single.
Seattle tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Up 3-0, the Mariners put the game out of reach in the sixth.
Ackley collected his third hit of the night and Zunino followed with a moonshot homer into the visitors’ bullpen in left field. Later in the inning, Brad Miller hit a rocket over the wall in center.