Hernandez looks to avoid a third loss this season to the AL West leaders as he opposes Perez on Saturday night in Arlington.
Seattle's ace improved to 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA over his last nine starts after allowing four hits and striking out nine in eight innings of Sunday's 2-0 win over Milwaukee. He's given up two runs or fewer eight times in that span, but he's also tossed at least 101 pitches an equal amount.
Rather than attempt to earn his 10th career shutout, Hernandez (12-5, 2.28 ERA) decided to shut it down."I'm just being honest. I didn't want to go out there, tired and lose the game," Hernandez said.
The right-hander, who leads the AL in ERA and is fourth in the majors with 178 strikeouts, gave up solo homers to Ian Kinsler and David Murphy but also struck out seven in seven innings of a 4-2 win over Texas on July 3.
Hernandez didn't pitch as well against the Rangers (70-52) the first two times he faced them this season, though, allowing four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss April 11 before allowing five in 5 2-3 frames of a 5-2 defeat May 25.
Despite last month's solid performance there, Hernandez is just 5-8 with a 4.23 ERA in 17 career starts in Arlington, where the Mariners won Friday's series opener 3-1.
Kyle Seager , who had been hitless in his previous 21 at-bats, hit a two-run homer in the eighth before Justin Smoak 's ninth-inning solo shot as Seattle (56-65) beat the Rangers for the fourth time in five meetings."The thing about him, you would never know it, the way he handles it, carries himself whether he's 10 for 20 or 0 for 21," acting manager Robby Thompson said. "That's the sign of a pro right there. He's a battler, that's why he's in there in the third hole."
Seager is hitting .500 during a 12-game hitting streak at Rangers Ballpark, which he'll look to extend against Perez in this contest.
Perez (5-3, 3.44) is coming off the best start of his career, giving up one run on a homer in the ninth in a four-hitter to beat Houston 6-1 on Sunday. He's 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA over his last three outings."When I go to the mound I think, `I'm the best here, and I have the ball,"' Perez said. "I just want to throw."
Manager Ron Washington has been impressed with the 22-year-old left-hander, who was called up for good June 22."He has good mechanics," Washington said. "I think when he gets erratic, it's only because he tries to do too much. As long as he stays throwing the ball through the catcher and spots his fastball down in the zone the way he's capable of doing, he'll be fine."
Perez gave up an unearned run and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings July 4 before the Rangers rallied for a 5-2 victory over the Mariners, who held Texas to four hits Friday.
Former Mariner Adrian Beltre had two, and he's hitting .457 over his last 13. Texas, which holds a one-half game lead over Oakland in the West, has dropped two of three following a season-best eight-game winning streak.
Beltre is hitting .438 during an eight-game hitting streak against his former team.
|July 26, 2013||Mike Zunino||15-Day DL||Fractured left hamate bone|
|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|
|August 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Long before the Texas Rangers set a season high for runs, the AL West leaders had a big inning against Felix Hernandez that put them ahead to stay.
Jurickson Profar hit an RBI single before scoring on a suicide squeeze in a five-run outburst against Hernandez, all the runs Texas managed in five innings against Seattle's ace on the way to a 15-3 victory over the Mariners on Saturday night.
"I can't put a finger on it, because there's games when he's really dominated us," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "One thing you have to do against King, and it was odd tonight, usually when he gets a lead, he knows how to take it home."
The Rangers finished off their big night with an eight-run eighth in which Profar had another RBI single.
Profar had a nifty slide to score on the bunt by Leonys Martin that dribbled only a few feet in front of the plate in the second inning. Seattle catcher Henry Blanco pounced on the ball and reached back trying to tag Profar, who made an elusive move to slide around and slap the back tip of the plate.
"It was pretty close, but I never tagged him," Blanco said. "You've got to expect anything. It was a good situation for them. Against a good pitcher like Felix, you're trying to get as many runs as you can."
Rookie left-hander Martin Perez (6-3) pitched into the eighth to win his third consecutive start in August, even after giving up single runs in each of the first three innings.
Perez had allowed exactly four hits in each of his previous three starts, including his first career complete game six days earlier.
The Mariners had four hits in the first two innings, when they built a 2-0 lead - usually plenty for Hernandez (12-6). He was 103-25 with a 2.80 ERA in his previous 170 career starts when Seattle scored at least two runs for him.
Hernandez had a season-high five walks and allowed five runs and five hits. The big right-hander, who threw eight shutout innings last Sunday against Milwaukee, came in as the American League ERA leader, but that mark went from 2.28 to 2.47 - higher than the 2.41 for Hiroki Kuroda of the New York Yankees .
"My pitches were flat, up and I was not getting ahead of them. It just started in the second inning. I tried to settle down," Hernandez said. "I was wild. It was just mechanics. I was too quick to the plate."
Adrian Beltre led off the Rangers second with an eight-pitch plate appearance. Beltre shouted out to Hernandez, his former teammate and good friend, while running to first base on his sharp single to center.
Texas loaded the bases with another hit and a walk before Profar blooped an RBI single and David Murphy hit a two-run double to deep center. Elvis Andrus added an RBI single after Martin's bunt for a 5-2 lead.
"Beltre got us going, and from that point on we just made contact and found some holes. It was a perfect situation right there to squeeze," Washington said. "With some luck, probably could have scored more runs. But I'm not going to be greedy. I'm going to take what we got."
Hernandez hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in his previous nine starts since June 20. He is 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against Texas this season.
Kyle Seager homered and had an RBI single for the Mariners, who have lost 13 of 20. He extended his hitting streak at Rangers Ballpark to 13 games since May 2012.
Brad Miller led off the game with a double and scored on a single by Seager, who was picked off second base by Perez. Dustin Ackley had a single and stolen base in the second before scoring on Brendan Ryan 's single.
Seager's 19th homer, a 409-foot shot into the second deck in right field, came in the third.
NOTES: It was Texas' highest-scoring game at Rangers Ballpark without hitting a home run. The stadium is in its 20th season. ... Murphy's 16 career RBIs vs. Hernandez are more than any other player. ... Craig Gentry pinch-hit for the Rangers for the fourth game in a row, and reached each time. He had a pinch two-run double in the seventh, and added an RBI fielder's choice in the eighth in the No. 9 spot where Murphy started. ... Beltre is 6 for 12 this season against Hernandez. The Rangers third baseman, who played five seasons in Seattle, was 3 for 15 previously.