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May 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM

Felix Hernandez returns to form against Astros, and Willie Bloomquist homers

Felix Hernandez celebrates a 1-6-3 double play to end the eighth inning Friday against the Astros. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Felix Hernandez celebrates a 1-6-3 double play to end the eighth inning Friday against the Astros. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Hey, Willie B!

If anything deserves an exclamation point, it’s a Willie Bloomquist home run, right?

Right!

The Mariners gave Bloomquist a good ribbing in the dugout after his sixth-inning home run in the Mariners’ 6-1 victory over Houston on Friday night. This ended how it should have with the Mariners starting their ace, Felix Hernandez, and the Astros calling up Rudy Owens for his major-league debut.

“They let me have it pretty good,” Bloomquist said, “but I deserve it.”

Mike Zunino congratulates Willie Bloomquist on his two-run homer in the sixth off Houston's Rudy Owens. The shot gave Seattle a 5-1 lead over the Astros. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Mike Zunino congratulates Willie Bloomquist on his two-run homer in the sixth off Houston’s Rudy Owens. The shot gave Seattle a 5-1 lead over the Astros. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

It was Bloomquist’s first home run since Aug. 10, 2011 — also against the Astros, and also against a pitcher making his major-league debut — when he was with Arizona. He had gone 663 plate appearances between homers.

“Don’t even go there,” Bloomquist said afterward, smiling, when asked if he remembered his last homer. “Don’t want to remember. … I’ve had a lot of ground-rule doubles in the meantime.”

It was also Bloomquist’s first homer at Safeco Field since June 26, 2007 against Boston.

“This guy’s a professional,” Lloyd McClendon said. “He struggled a little bit early on, but I tell guys all the time: ‘Check the book. This guy’s pretty good at what he does.’ He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities … (but) tonight was a little bit of what he can do.”

Hernandez (6-1) showed off a lot of what he can do. He might have even earned himself an audition as a goalie for an NHL team (if one ever comes to Seattle). Twice he took hard-hit balls off his legs, the first off his right foot and the second off his left calf.

That last shot was in the eighth inning off the bat of Jose Altuve, who had three of Houston’s five hits and raised his batting average to .500 (8 for 16) against Hernandez.

It didn’t matter much: Hernandez was able to start a 1-6-3 double play off the bat off Dexter Fowler to end the eighth. Hernandez then let out a primal yell in celebration as he walked toward the dugout, his night complete.

“Felix was pretty darn good tonight in a lot of different ways,” McClendon said. “Certainly with his pitch count — very efficient — and fielding the ball with his glove and his legs.”

A few other notes from the Mariners:

  • Seattle has won 4 straight against Houston and 5 of the last 6 games after opening the season with 2 losses.
  • Hernandez won his 3rd straight decision, 2nd time this season winning 3 straight decisions (last: 3/31-4/11).
  • With 8.0 innings tonight, Hernandez has now tossed 1,900 Major League innings in his career.
  • It’s the 61st time in his career to toss 8.0+ innings while allowing one earned run or less (last: April 5 at OAK).
  • It’s 8th time in 11 starts this season to allow 2 earned runs or less, 10th time to allow 3 earned runs or less.
  • Seattle has won each of Hernandez’s last four starts (5/7 at OAK, 5/12 vs. TB, 5/18 at MIN).

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”3585361408001″/]

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”3585370804001″/]

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