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Wed, Jul 3, 2013 - 8:05 PM ET
 

Mariners-Rangers Preview

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Felix Hernandez quickly put his worst start of the season behind him.

Now, the Seattle Mariners, coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season, will try to give Hernandez his first win in three tries this year against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Hernandez (8-4, 2.70 ERA) wasted little time recovering from a dismal start against the Los Angeles Angels on June 20 in which he allowed season highs of seven runs and 12 hits over five innings. He was back to his usual self last Wednesday, yielding two runs and six hits while striking out 11 in seven innings but left without a decision in a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh.

"I had pretty good command on my fastball and the breaking ball was a little better,'' Hernandez said.

Hernandez, who received just 27 runs of support over his first 11 starts, has garnered 28 while posting a 3-0 record over his last six.

On Wednesday, he'll be backed by a Mariners' offense that is coming off a nine-run display, tied for its second-best output of the season. The Mariners (36-47) managed just three runs in their first series in Arlington this season.

After hitting two home runs Tuesday, Kendrys Morales has doubled his total from June and is 9 for his last 21 (.429).

"I worked in the cage the last three or four days to make adjustments to feel more comfortable,'' Morales said through a translator. "I want to take an aggressive approach every time. That's what it takes to be a winner.''

Meanwhile, Raul Ibanez has homered in consecutive games for the sixth time this season. He is tied for fifth in the AL with 20 home runs.

"I think the whole team swung the bats well,'' Ibanez said. "Even the outs that were made were good swings. It was a good collective effort.''

Hernandez might need the help given his history against Texas (48-35). The Rangers have beaten him 18 times, while no other team has topped him on more than 12 occasions. Texas has beaten Seattle's ace twice in 2013 and is also responsible for two of three outings this season in which the right-hander has surrendered double-digit hits. The Rangers reached Hernandez for three runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings April 11 and then followed with five runs and 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings May 25.

Several Texas hitters have fared well against him. David Murphy is 21 for 69 (.304) in their matchups though he has struck out 16 times, while Elvis Andrus is 17 for 57 (.298) and Adrian Beltre is 7 for 22 (.318).

Looking to restore the Rangers pitching staff's prior success over the Mariners is Derek Holland (6-4, 3.14). The left-hander is coming off one of the best games of his career, a two-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

Holland needed just 92 pitches to record his sixth career complete game and his first since he recorded three in July of 2011.

"You think positive thoughts,'' Holland said. "You can't let any negativity get in there.''

Holland, who had surrendered four runs in each of his three starts prior to Thursday, has dominated the Mariners of late. In his last two starts against Seattle, he has scattered eight hits and two unearned runs over 14 1-3 innings.

Texas DH Lance Berkman (sore right knee) could return to the lineup Wednesday after missing four straight games.

Tagged: Mariners, Rangers, Felix Hernandez, Derek Holland

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