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April 11, 2014 at 11:07 PM

Mariners 6, A’s 4 — Felix Hernandez improves to 3-0 on the season

Post game notes ....  04.11.14 Post-Game Notes (OAK) (1)

Box score .… 04.11.14-Box-Score

Felix Hernandez continues to pitch well against the A’s and add his name to the record book.

On a chilly Friday night in front of a packed Safeco Field – most of them holding up “K” placards and wearing free bright gold t-shirts bearing his name for the Supreme Court – the Mariners’ ace added to another accomplishment into his growing chapter of the organization’s record book.

Hernandez delivered another stellar outing much to the delight of the 38,968 fans in attendance, pitching seven innings and giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out 11 in the Mariners’ 6-4 win over the Oakland A’s.

“Unbelievable, that was awesome,” he said. “I had to throw a good game. You can’t throw a bad game with all those people there.”

Manager Lloyd McClendon had no complaints.

“He was outstanding,” McClendon said. “I thought his stuff worked exceptionally well tonight.”

The overall numbers could have been better. At 100 pitches, McClendon let Hernandez start the eighth.

“I just wanted to make sure he was feeling exceptionally well to go out there for the eighth,” McClendon said.

Hernandez hit Daric Barton with a pitch and gave up a single to Eric Sogard.

“They were just mistakes,” he said.

McClendon pulled Hernandez, but the bullpen couldn’t get out of the minor jam. Lucas Luetge walked a batter to load the bases. He was lifted for Danny Farquhar, who walked in a run and then got a strikeout.  McClendon then called on Charlie Furbush, who gave up broken bat single to score a run and wild pitched home a run home and allowed another to get across on a fielder’s choice before finally getting a pop out to end the inning.

That little escapade made the score look a little closer in the end. But during Hernandez’s time in the game, he was in total command.

“I felt really good,” he said. “Everything was working.”

He now has three wins in three starts – something he’s never done in his nine previous big league season with the Mariners (6-3). He becomes the first Mariners pitcher to ever pick up three wins in the first nine games of the season. Only five other pitchers have accomplished the feat in the past decade.

It was the 28th time in his career he struck out 10 or more batters and 25th since 2009. The 25 starts with 10 strikeouts or more since 2009 are the second most in baseball behind one-time teammate Cliff Lee, who has 26.

But records mean little to Hernandez. He often shrugs them much like question about streaks or lack of run support – something that wasn’t lacking on Friday.

The A’s gifted the Mariners about three runs with fielding miscues, while Mike Zunino blasted a two-run homer and Brad Miller ripped a solo homer in the sixth inning to provide plenty of runs for Hernandez to work with.

“That was just about all I had,” Mille said of his solo homer to center off of Drew Pomeranz.

A’s hitters were totally baffled against Hernandez. . Five different players struck out twice and only two balls were hit with any sort of authority off of Hernandez. Sadly, they’ve been on the receiving end of these types of performances far too often.

Hernandez has a 17-7 record versus the A’s in 31 career starts. It’s the most wins against any team he has faced in his career.

The Mariners gave Hernandez run support immediately.  After getting just one hit in their last game, Abraham Almonte led off the bottom of the first with a double to left field off of A’s starter Tommy Milone. He moved to second on Brad Miller’s bunt base hit. Robinson Cano scored Almonte with an infield single.

“Felix is the great equalizer when you got him going,” Miller said. “But Abe hops on that first pitch and we get something going right away.”

Miller said he decided to try the drag bunt knowing that he could get a hit and also had Cano coming up behind him.

Seattle tacked on two more runs in the fourth thanks to A’s fielding miscues.

Up 3-0, the Mariners put the game out of reach in the sixth. Dustin Ackley collected his third hit of the night and Zunino followed with a moonshot homer into the visitors’ bullpen in left field for his second of the seaso,  knocking Milone from the game.  Later in the inning, Brad Miller hit a rocket over the wall in center off of lefty Drew Pomeranz to make it 6-0. The Mariners have hit homers in six of their nine games this season.

After the bullpen adventure in the eighth that reduced the lead to 6-4, Fernando Rodney pitched scoreless ninth to notch his third save of the season.

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