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March 31, 2014 at 11:46 PM

Mariners 10, Angels 3 — eight straight wins on opening day

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So that was interesting.

The Mariners picked up their eighth-straight opening day win, getting a solid start from Felix Hernandez, rallying from a 3-1 deficit and then exploding for six runs in the ninth for a 10-3 win.

Hernandez was dealt the gut punch to start the game with a two-run homer from Mike Trout. Kyle Seager booted a ball at third and Dustin Ackley misplayed a double from Albert Pujols in left field, which led to another run. Suddenly, the Mariners were down 3-1 after three innings

But give Hernandez credit. He wasn’t happy about the homer to Trout. But he didn’t let it derail his outing, he kept pitching and throwing striking guys out. And his teammates rewarded him with some run support. It all added up to a 10-3 win.

Hernandez, making his club-record seventh opening day start, pitched six innings, giving up the three runs on four hits with a walk, a wild pitch and 11 strikeouts. In those seven starts, he is now 5-0 and a 1.52 ERA 52 strikeouts.

“I was just pissed,” he said of the Trout homer. “I mean, opening day, two-run homer? Really Felix? Really? I said, ‘you have to go out there and do something about it.’ After that I felt really comfortable and I was throwing strikes and attacked the strike zone.”

It was Hernandez’s fifth win on opening day, but it was Lloyd McClendon’s first as Mariners manager. He downplayed its importance.

“It’s good to get it and get it out of the way,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s much significance to it.”

But there is significance to what Hernandez has meant to the Mariners over the years beyond just opening day starts.

“Given the history of what Felix has done for this organization and the battles he’s had and the lack of wins, it was really special to see our guys come back and win the ball game for him,” McClendon said. “I was really happy for Felix.”

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Give the Mariners bullpen credit, the worked out of a minor jam there in the seventh inning after Hernandez left the game. Yoervis Medina gave up a one-out single. Charlie Furbush came in and got an out and then took a ball off the leg from Mike Trout. (McClendon said he’ll be fine, it was on muscle not bone). But with two outs, Tom Wilhelmsen got Albert Pujols to line out to center to end the inning.

Wilhelmsen pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley provided six runs of insurance in the ninth. Smoak belted a three-run homer and Ackley ripped a three-run triple.

“I was just trying to get the barrel through and I caught it clean,” said Smoak, who also had a double earlier in the game.



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