Sports

King Felix pitches Mariners past Rangers

Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez had 12 strikeouts in seven strong innings and the Seattle Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

Hernandez (2-0) gave up just one run on two hits and two walks in his 43rd career start against the Rangers, helping them bounce back from a 3-1 loss in the series opener on Friday.

Mike Zunino hit a solo homer off Texas starter Colby Lewis in the fifth inning to give the Mariners the lead for good.

Lewis (1-1) allowed three runs on 10 hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Hernandez pitched six days after leaving his previous start on Sunday against Oakland after five innings because of tightness in his right quadriceps.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Hernandez convinced him on Saturday to let him pitch longer against the Rangers than the manager wanted, but told the pitcher, "We won't be having many of these conversations."

"He battled me to stay in the game," McClendon said. "Just a gutsy performance."

The Mariners put their leadoff man on base in the first three innings but didn't score until the fourth, when Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hit one-out singles, Kyle Seager walked with two outs and Seth Smith's sacrifice fly gave them a 1-0 lead.

Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth, went to third on Leonys Martin's single and scored on Elvis Andrus' groundout to tie the score for Texas.

But Zunino gave Seattle the lead again when he knocked Lewis' first-pitch slider in the bottom of the fifth over the left-field wall for his first homer of the season.

Seager's double made it five leadoff hits in the first six innings for the Mariners. He scored on Brad Miller's two-out triple, which made it 3-1 and knocked Lewis out of the game.

No one has faced Hernandez more in his career or hung more wins on the former Cy Young Award winner than the Rangers, who entered the game 21-12 against the star right-hander.

But Hernandez threw 70 of his 111 pitches for strikes and struck out the last four batters he faced, setting down Cano, Cruz and Seager in the seventh.

The Rangers had one of their best chances against him in the first inning after Martin led off with a double, was moved up on a bunt and Adrian Beltre was hit by a pitch with two outs. But Hernandez struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning.

"We had an opportunity in the first and we didn't push a run across," said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. "When you go up against a guy like this you know he's going to get stronger as the game goes along and you have to capitalize on your run-scoring opportunities."

Danny Farquhar struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Seattle and Fernando Rodney had one strikeout in a perfect ninth to record his third save of the season.

Game Notes

Hernandez has 23 strikeouts and five walks in 19 innings this season and the Mariners have won all three of his starts ... Seattle's Austin Jackson was thrown out at home plate in the first inning trying to score from first base on Cano's double to the right-field wall ... Ross Detwiler will start the series finale for Texas on Sunday and fellow left-hander James Paxton will get the ball for Seattle.