Felix Hernandez tries to follow up a brilliant season debut on Saturday when the Seattle Mariners continue a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at U.S.Cellular Field.
Hernandez, who signed a 7-year, $135.5 million extension this offseason, scattered three hits and struck out eight over 7 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
"Opening Day, it's good to start the right way," Hernandez said. "It's pretty special. It was loud today with a lot of people, but I was just in my game, just trying to make my pitches. I felt pretty good today."
Hernandez has faced the White Sox 12 times and is 3-4 with a 3.53 ERA. The former AL Cy Young Award winner has struggled in the Windy City, though, going a mere 1-4 with a 4.75 ERA in seven starts.
Chicago, meanwhile, will counter with righty Dylan Axelrod, who earned the role as the team's fifth starter when it was learned that John Danks would be sidelined until at least the end of April.
Axelrod was 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA in seven starts and 1-0 with a 6.94 ERA in seven relief appearances for the White Sox a year ago.
Seattle won a thrilling opener on Friday, as Kendrys Morales and Jesus Montero drove in runs in the 10th inning, and Tom Wilhelmsen escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half to preserve the Mariners' 8-7 victory.
DeWayne Wise singled in Alex Rios with two outs to get the White Sox within a run and Alexei Ramirez walked to fill the bases. However, Wilhelmsen, in relief of Kameron Loe (1-0), then fanned Tyler Flowers to earn his second save of the year.
Wilhelmsen, though, threw 34 pitches in the final inning and may not be available on Saturday.
Franklin Gutierrez went 3-for-5 with a leadoff homer and drove in three runs for the Mariners. Morales knocked in two runs as the Mariners won on the South Side of Chicago for just the fourth time in their last 23 tries.
Mariners starter Blake Beavan gave up six hits and five runs through five frames.
"They're not guys out there who are trying to steal bases and hit-and-runs," Beavan said of the White Sox. "They're hitting the long ball."
Alejandro De Aza belted a two-run homer and Rios delivered a solo blast for the White Sox, but Nate Jones (0-1) gave up four hits and two runs and was saddled with his first major league defeat after going 8-0 last season.
A win on Saturday would give the Mariners their first back-to-back wins versus Chicago since on Sept. 16-17, 2009. It would also give them their first series win at U.S. Cellular since 2007.