Hernandez looks to build on his latest dominant performance while hoping he can get some more run support Monday night as the Mariners visit Houston for the first of three with the AL-worst Astros.
Hernandez (1-2, 2.20 ERA) gave up one unearned run and four hits while striking out 12 over eight innings Wednesday against Detroit, but he left with the score tied at 1 in a game the Tigers went on to win in 14 innings.
"I was trying to match it up and do my job," Hernandez said. "With that kind of lineup, you've got to be aggressive and be in attack mode. And that's what I did today."
Getting little help is nothing new for the right-hander. Hernandez is 92-24 with a 2.95 ERA in the 153 career starts in which he's been given at least two runs of support. Seattle, though, has provided him with one run or none 89 times - nearly 37 percent of his career outings.
He got one run of support in his previous appearance against the Astros, giving up four and 12 hits over six innings in a 6-1 loss in Houston in June 2007.
The Mariners (7-13) have scored one run for him twice and two runs in Hernandez's other two starts this season, but the former Cy Young Award winner isn't the only pitcher they're struggling to support. Seattle averages an AL-low 3.05 runs per game, and it's totaled just 13 in its last eight after Sunday's 11-3 loss in Texas.
The Mariners struck out 11 times, giving them 63 over the last five games. Only Houston (173) has whiffed more times this season than Seattle (167)."I'm just upset, to say the least, to our approach with two strikes, it's something that's been addressed, something that has to be better," manager Eric Wedge said. "The strikeouts are ridiculous. ... We kind of crashed as a team offensively."
The Astros (5-13) would be averaging just over three runs if not for two explosive performances at Safeco Field earlier this month. Houston totaled 24 runs and 38 hits in those contests to take two of three.
Brad Peacock (1-1, 5.27) was the beneficiary in that series finale, allowing three runs and four hits - including homers to Franklin Gutierrez and Kelly Shoppach - in an 8-3 victory. Peacock followed up his first win in an Astros uniform by giving up three runs over 4 1-3 Tuesday in a 4-3 loss at Oakland."The first couple of innings I was getting the ball down, and then I did the opposite," Peacock said. "I felt like I had some of my best stuff tonight. This is still my first go-round."
The trip to Seattle remains the Astros' lone series victory in their inaugural AL season. Houston had a chance to win another Sunday, but fell 5-4 to Cleveland.
After hitting .300 with runners in scoring position over their previous eight games, the Astros went 1 for 23 in those situations in their series against the Indians."We need to keep having those good situational at-bats," catcher Jason Castro said. "That is going to be what's key for us moving forward is for us to capitalize. Obviously, it's nice to get hits with nobody is on because that's how it starts. When guys are in position, get guys over and get them in any way you can."
|April 15, 2013||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Torn right lat muscle|
|April 12, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Fractured finger|
|April 11, 2013||Michael Saunders||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|April 10, 2013||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Sprained right shoulder|
|March 25, 2013||Josh Kinney||60-Day DL||Stress reaction, left shoulder|
|March 19, 2013||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Stiffness in neck|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|April 19, 2013||J.D. Martinez||Day-to-Day||Sprained Knee|
|April 05, 2013||Travis Blackley||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|April 05, 2013||Travis Blackley||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|April 04, 2013||Josh Fields||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|March 31, 2013||Alex White||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
HOUSTON (AP) -- Seattle's Felix Hernandez was relieved to reach his 100th career win on Monday night against Houston after failing to reach the milestone in three previous attempts.
"Finally," he said with a huge grin. "It took too long."
Hernandez pitched six scoreless innings and Seattle homered three times to back him up in a 7-1 victory over the Astros.
"Tonight I was like: `You've got to do it (Monday). You can't wait more and more time. You've just got to go out there and have a good game,"' he said.
Hernandez (2-2) joins Jamie Moyer (145) and Randy Johnson (130) as the only pitchers to reach 100 wins with the Mariners.
He didn't realize that there were only two other players to reach the mark with Seattle and said he was honored to be on the exclusive list.
"It's a great accomplishment," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "I'm really happy for him that he was able to accomplish that at such a young age. He's accomplished so much so quickly for a young man."
Hernandez allowed five hits and struck out nine to lower his ERA to 2.08. He came in with the second-lowest run support in the AL at 1.88, and didn't factor into the decision in his last start despite striking out 12 and allowing no earned runs in eight innings.
He had no such trouble Monday night as Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first and tacked on two runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Kyle Seager , Jesus Montero and Kendrys Morales all homered for the Mariners, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"It was a great day offensively and even better to get Felix some runs early so he could settle in and do what he does," Seager said.
Hernandez, who threw the only perfect game in Mariners history last August, struggled to rank this moment among the many things he's already done at just 27.
"I might think about it in my room," he said. "I've got 100 and I just feel so happy right now."
Rick Ankiel hit a solo homer in the seventh inning for the Astros, who dropped to 5-14 - the second-worst start in franchise history, according to STATS. They opened 4-20 in 1969.
"It's tough," Houston's Carlos Pena said of the losses. "We take pride in what we do, and every time we lose it eats away a little piece of us - there's no doubt about that."
Houston starter Brad Peacock (1-2) yielded nine hits and seven runs - both season highs - in 4 1-3 innings. The Astros' pitching staff has allowed 10 home runs in the last three games.
"When you don't pitch well you put yourself in a hole against a guy of (Hernandez's) caliber, fighting an uphill battle," Houston manager Bo Porter said.
Monday was just the third time the Mariners had ever visited Houston and their first trip since June 2007. They'll make three visits this year alone with Houston's move to the AL-West.
Seattle's hitters bounced back from a tough weekend where they went 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position and were shut out twice in a three-game sweep by the Rangers.
They got things going early in this one when Seager extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games with a single with one out in the first. Morales walked before Seager advanced to third on a passed ball by Castro with two outs.
Justin Smoak sent Seager home with a groundball single that glanced off first baseman Pena's glove and into the outfield to make it 1-0.
Seager put the Mariners up 3-0 in the third when he launched a two-run homer to the second deck in right field. He has scored six runs and drove in eight during his hitting streak.
Montero added a two-run shot to center field in the fourth to push the lead to 5-0.
Morales led off the fifth inning with a home run to right field to make it 6-0. Smoak doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Montero later in the inning.
The Astros couldn't string any hits together against Hernandez. The only time they had more than one baserunner against him was in the fourth, but thanks to a baserunning gaffe that didn't last long.
Jason Castro walked with no outs in that inning before Chris Carter broke a 0-for-16 slump with a bloop single to shallow center field. Castro thought the ball was caught and sprinted back to first base, leaving both he and Carter there.
The umpires discussed the play for a couple of minutes before ruling that Carter was out for passing a runner on the basepath.
Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was injured trying to make the catch and left the game with tightness in his right hamstring. Wedge said that he could be headed for the disabled list, but that they'd know more about the injury on Tuesday.
Houston reliever Jose Cisnero made his major league debut when he replaced Peacock in the fifth inning. He was a bright spot for the Astros, allowing two hits in 3 2-3 scoreless innings.
NOTES: Seattle's Michael Morse went 0 for 5 to break a nine-game hitting streak in Houston. ... The series continues on Tuesday when Houston's Bud Norris opposes Hisashi Iwakuma . ... The Astros recalled Cisnero from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned LHP Brett Oberholtzer there before the game. ... Houston Rockets players Chandler Parsons and Aaron Brooks attended the game a night after losing to Oklahoma City in the first game of their first-round playoff series with the Thunder.