Seattle, WA – Felix Hernandez fired his second shutout of the season and the Seattle Mariners blanked the Texas Rangers, 7-0, in the middle test of a three-game set at Safeco Field.
Hernandez (7-5) struck out 12 and allowed just three hits without walking a batter to earn his sixth career shutout. The 36-year-old right-hander is now 3-0 over his last six starts and hasn't lost since June 12 against San Diego.
"It was definitely pretty good, you can see the results," said Hernandez of his outing. "Today was unbelievable, I was pounding the strike zone. I was throwing every pitch in every count. If you get ahead of those guys, you're in control."
John Jaso clubbed a solo home run and knocked in a pair, while Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager each added two RBI for the Mariners, who rode a four-run opening inning to snap a brief two-game skid.
Yu Darvish (10-6) was tagged for seven runs on eight hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings to absorb the loss. In three starts against Seattle this season, Darvish is 1-2 and has surrendered 17 runs -- 16 earned -- over 16 full frames.
Josh Hamilton went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in the setback and has now fanned 16 times in his career against Hernandez, which is the most by any pitcher against the left-handed slugger. The Rangers had won their last three games.
"He's a good pitcher, he's been a good pitcher for a long time," admitted Hamilton of Hernandez. "Usually, when we face Felix, we kind of step our game up. Tonight he stepped his game up."
The Mariners wasted no time getting things started in the first as Dustin Ackley worked a leadoff walk, Ichiro Suzuki followed with a single and Casper Wells was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jaso then walked on four pitches and Saunders reached on an error from Michael Young, who was unable to control Saunders' grounder, which packed the bags again.
After Justin Smoak popped out, Seager slapped a single the other way through the left side of the infield to plate a pair and give the home team a 4-0 edge.
"He only need one run, I think everybody knew that, but it was nice to put all those runs up and give him a little cushion," said Ackley of his starter. "When he's relaxed out there it's almost impossible (to hit him)."
Seattle tacked on a run in the fourth as Seager walked to start the frame and Ackley came through with a two-out, RBI double off the base of the wall in center field.
Jaso gave the M's a six-run lead in the fifth when he crushed the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-center field.
Seattle added a run in the seventh. Wells and Jaso stroked consecutive one-out singles. Saunders then laced a double into the right-field corner to score Wells before a Smoak walk ended Darvish's night and loaded the bases.
Michael Kirkman worked his way out of the jam with an outstanding back-handed stab and a strikeout, but the Rangers offense couldn't get anything going as Hernandez retired the final nine batters he faced to secure his 20th career complete game.
The Rangers recalled catcher Luis Martinez from Triple-A Round Rock and optioned right-handed pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama to Round Rock...Hernandez leads the majors with 140 strikeouts. It was the seventh start this season he has gone at least eight innings while allowing one run or fewer, which is the most in the majors...Texas failed on its only opportunity with a runner in scoring position and left two on base.