King Felix leads M's in opener with Angels

Felix Hernandez will try to keep the good times rolling for the Seattle Mariners Friday in the opener of a three-game series versus the LA Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field.

Hernandez, though, is 1-2 with a 3.44 earned run average in his last five starts and the Mariners are 1-4 in that time. Hernandez allowed five runs and five hits in five innings in last Saturday's 15-3 loss at Texas and dropped to 12-6 through 26 starts. His earned run average went from 2.44 to 2.62.

"He left some balls in the middle of the plate and we took advantage of them, which is exactly what we're supposed to do," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. "He's a great pitcher, but you'd like to think if we're a big-league lineup and we're getting pitches -- fastballs -- over the middle of the plate that we're going to do something with those."

The right-handed Hernandez is trying to win 13 games for a fifth straight year and is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Angels this season. Hernandez has a losing record in 33 career matchups with the Angels, going 8-12 with a 3.97 ERA.

King Felix and the Mariners are back in the Emerald City for six straight games and just went 5-4 on a recent road trip. The Mariners won two of three at Oakland and took the series with Wednesday's 5-3 triumph behind seven decent innings from Hisashi Iwakuma, who allowed three runs and seven hits.

"Early on, my pitches were up," Iwakuma said through an interpreter. "But as I got deeper into my game, I was able to command my pitches lower in the zone. Even with runners on second and third, I was able to keep the ball down and pitch effectively."

Danny Farquhar struck out the side in the ninth for his ninth save. Brendan Ryan had a two-run double in the sixth inning and an RBI single in the eighth, while Brad Miller clubbed a solo homer in the fifth for the Mariners. Ryan entered the game batting .120 over his last 27 games.

Seattle has homered 150 times, tied with Toronto for second-most in MLB.

The Mariners hope rookie second baseman Nick Franklin will return to the lineup Friday and he missed Wednesday's game with a laceration to his left knee. Franklin needed five stitches and was expected to miss four of five days.

"I think they'll be able to pad it up to protect it," Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said.

The disappointing Angels will open a nine-game road trip Friday against Seattle, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee and have lost four straight and 13 of 17 games.

Anaheim was just swept in three games versus the Cleveland Indians and failed to salvage the finale of the set with Wednesday's 3-1 defeat. Jerome Williams was dealt the touch-luck loss for allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings and Hank Conger highlighted the anemic offense with two hits and an RBI.

Josh Hamilton was 1-for-3, Mark Trumbo ended hitless in four at-bats and Mike Trout hasn't played since Sunday with tightness in his right hamstring. Trout is questionable for the opener with Seattle.

"Our lineup is thin right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just haven't gotten the hit that puts us in our favor."

Garrett Richards hopes to get some support when he takes the mound for Scioscia's club Friday night. Richards is 3-5 with a 4.24 ERA in 39 games, nine of which have been starts, and allowed five runs on 12 hits in six innings of a 6-5 win over Houston on Saturday.

Richards, a right-hander, has made 10 career appearances, two starts, against Seattle and is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA.

Seattle is 7-6 against the Angels this season and swept a three-game set from July 12-14 at Safeco Field.