Hernandez tries to win a season-high sixth consecutive decision as the visiting Mariners go for a sixth straight victory Sunday against the Houston Astros .
After taking Friday's opener 10-7, Seattle (45-52) pulled out a 4-2 victory Saturday despite managing one hit - a tiebreaking two-run double from Michael Saunders with two outs in the seventh inning.
"That was the longest double I've ever had," Saunders said. "I definitely put a good swing on it. I guess if the hill isn't out there, maybe he runs it down. Or if the hill isn't out there, maybe it's a home run. I don't know. But it fell, we won and that's all that matters."
The Mariners have hit 10 homers and outscored opponents 32-15 during their winning streak, their longest since posting eight consecutive victories Aug. 14-22. They became the second team since 1916 to score at least four runs with one or no hits, and the first since the Chicago White Sox were no-hit but beat the New York Yankees 4-0 on July 1, 1990.
The Mariners now turn to Hernandez (10-4, 2.53 ERA), the AL leader in ERA. The right-hander, who pitched a scoreless inning in the All-Star game Tuesday, has won back-to-back starts and gone 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his past nine outings.
Hernandez had everything working his last time out, allowing seven hits in eight innings to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-0 last Saturday.
"Felix did a great job. He had to work hard a couple of innings, but as he usually does, makes pitches and gets through it and gets out of it," manager Eric Wedge said.
Hernandez baffled the Astros in a 7-1 road victory April 22, going six scoreless innings and striking out nine.
Houston (33-63) has dropped four straight and 14 of 17 after Saturday's bizarre loss.
"I would say it was the strangest game I've been involved from little league to the big leagues when you give up one hit and punch out 15 guys and end up on the losing side of it," said manager Bo Porter , whose club has been outscored 56-23 during a 1-8 stretch at home.
"But it's crystal clear how we ended up on the losing side of it. When you walk (six) guys and all four of their runs that score are via the walk, there's no defense for it."
The Astros have walked 14 in the first two games of this series and are second in the major leagues in walks per nine innings at 3.67.
Carlos Pena , mired in an 8-for-65 (.123) slump, has gone 1 for his last 19 against the Mariners.
The Astros try to bounce back behind Jordan Lyles (4-3, 4.02), who went 0-2 with a 6.14 ERA in his final four starts before the break. The right-hander yielded four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-4 loss at St. Louis last Wednesday.
"A couple breaking balls got away, but for the most part, fastball command was pretty good," he said. "Just need to make better pitches."
Lyles allowed three hits and struck out a career-high 10 over seven scoreless innings but didn't get a decision in a 6-1 win at Seattle on June 12. That was the only time he's faced the Mariners.
Lyles has gone 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA in his last five home starts.
|July 11, 2013||Nick Franklin||Day-to-Day||Left game - knee soreness|
|July 11, 2013||Endy Chavez||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin tightness|
|June 29, 2013||Dustin Ackley||Day-to-Day||Left game - thumb|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
|June 21, 2013||Michael Morse||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
|July 09, 2013||Ronny Cedeno||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left toe|
|June 29, 2013||Justin Maxwell||7-Day DL||Mild concussion|
|June 29, 2013||Justin Maxwell||7-Day DL||Mild concussion|
|June 21, 2013||Trevor Crowe||15-Day DL||Sprained AC joint in right shoulder|
|May 26, 2013||Edgar Gonzalez||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|May 21, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
HOUSTON (AP) -- The last time Felix Hernandez had a 7-0 lead, everything fell apart for Seattle's ace.
This time around things were much different.
Nick Franklin hit his first career grand slam in Seattle's big second inning to back up a scoreless start by Hernandez, and the Mariners rolled past the Houston Astros 12-5 on Sunday for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Franklin's slam, Seattle's fifth this season, came off Jordan Lyles (4-4) in a seven-run second.
Hernandez (11-4) scattered four hits with seven strikeouts over six innings to lower his AL-leading ERA to 2.43. He is 6-0 in his last 10 starts and hasn't lost since May 25.
The Mariners were up 7-0 in the third inning against the Angels on June 20 before Hernandez was tagged for a season-high seven runs over the next three innings as Los Angeles rallied for a 10-9 win.
"I'm sure it was in the back of everyone's mind, but he was a different animal today," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He's one of those guys, it might happen once, but it's not going to happen again. I thought he did a good job against them. They made him work. But he did a good job and made pitches."
Hernandez said he didn't think about that game against the Angels, he simply appreciated getting so much run support early.
"Oh yeah, man, it's fun to pitch like that," he said. "The last few weeks we've been scoring a lot of runs. We've just got to continue to do that and we're going to win a lot of games."
Brad Miller , Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders drove in two runs each to help the Mariners wrap up a three-game sweep.
Lyles yielded eight hits and 10 runs, with a career-high nine earned, in four-plus innings to lose his third consecutive decision
"It snowballed," Lyles said. "From the get-go, I was missing around the zone. I wasn't quite hitting targets. I was just a little bit off. It really came down to fastball command."
The Mariners piled up 13 hits, a day after managing just one in a 4-2 win.
Wedge liked that his team continued to pad the lead after going up by seven early.
"A lot of times you'll see that: You get a big lead and you don't do anything the rest of the game," Wedge said. "I thought our guys did a good job of staying hungry."
Hernandez didn't allow a runner past first base until the fifth when Justin Maxwell reached on an error by Miller at shortstop and went to second on a wild pitch. Maxwell advanced to third on a one-out single by Jake Elmore , but Hernandez left Houston empty-handed when Jose Altuve grounded into a double play.
Kendrys Morales singled to open the Seattle second and Kyle Seager reached on an error at shortstop by Elmore.
Michael Saunders drew a one-out walk to load the bases before an infield single by Ackley made it 1-0. A second run came home when Lyles plunked Henry Blanco with a pitch.
Miller's RBI single pushed the lead to 3-0 before the grand slam by Franklin, off to an impressive start in his rookie season.
"It was definitely a great bounce-back from yesterday and only having the one hit," Franklin said of jumping on Houston early. "But at the same time, we've been swinging it well and it was just one of those adjustment periods we had to go through and get back after it the next day."
Lyles retired Raul Ibanez before finally escaping the inning when Morales came up again and grounded out.
Lyles settled down after that and retired six of his next seven batters. Things started going awry again in the fifth when Ibanez led off with a double before an RBI single by Morales made it 8-0. Lyles hit Seager with a pitch and was chased by Justin Smoak 's single.
Saunders grounded into a force out to add another run and the Mariners went up 10-0 on a sacrifice fly by Ackley.
Miller pushed the lead to 11-0 with an RBI single in the seventh, and Saunders extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double in the eighth.
The Astros got a run-scoring single from Altuve in the seventh and tacked on four runs in the ninth to make it 12-5.
NOTES: Houston opens a series with the Athletics on Monday when Dallas Keuchel (4-5) opposes Tommy Milone (8-8). ... The Mariners return home to begin a series against Cleveland, with Aaron Harang (4-8) scheduled to pitch against Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4). ... It was the fourth time this season the Mariners scored 10 runs or more and the second in this series. ... After the game, the Astros designated 1B-DH Carlos Pena and SS Ronny Cedeno for assignment and called up SS Jonathan Villar from Triple-A Oklahoma City.