Mariners-Twins Preview

Felix Hernandez couldn’t duplicate his perfect game the last

time he took the mound, but he did continue an outstanding stretch

of pitching – one he has a good chance to further extend given his

next opponent.

Hernandez takes the mound for the Seattle Mariners on Monday

night in the opener of their four-game road series against the

Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez (12-5, 2.54 ERA) threw the third perfect game this

season and first in Seattle history Aug. 15 against Tampa Bay. He

followed that by defeating Cleveland on Tuesday, allowing one run

and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-1 victory.

“None of this gets to his head, all this excitement,” catcher

John Jaso said. “He’s just the kind of guy that is going to enjoy

it.”

The right-hander has a lot to enjoy right now as his outstanding

stretch likely has vaulted him into contention for the AL Cy Young

Award. Hernandez is 8-0 with a 1.53 ERA and a .184 opponent batting

average in his last 13 starts, striking out 95 while walking

16.

Hernandez dominated the Twins (52-75) the one time he faced them

this season, limiting them to one hit in eight innings of a 7-0

victory May 5 at home. He improved to 5-5 with a 2.40 ERA in 13

career starts versus Minnesota.

He’ll try to help the Mariners (61-67) bounce back from a

weekend sweep in Chicago. They led in all three contests including

Sunday, when Kevin Millwood gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers in the seventh and wound up losing

4-3 after the game was called due to rain later that inning.

“I wish we could have finished it off,” Mariners manager Eric

Wedge said. “Our kids are playing so hard right now. They’re

fighting. We could have won all three of these games, too.”

Seattle entered Chicago riding an eight-game winning streak, but

all of those wins came at home. The Mariners have lost eight of 10

on the road.

They might find it easier to win in Minnesota (52-75). The Twins

have lost 14 of 17, narrowly avoiding a four-game sweep by Texas

with a 6-5 win Sunday.

Ben Revere went 4 for 4 and scored three times and Minnesota

held off a late Rangers rally to snap a five-game losing

streak.

”We finally got one to go our way,” Revere said after the Twins

scored more than three runs for only the third time in 11 games.

”We’re a good enough team that we should be able to compete with

these guys.”

Minnesota right-hander Liam Hendriks (0-6, 7.06 ERA) will try

once again for his first career win.

Hendriks is making his 14th career start and 10th this season.

He was recalled from Triple-A last week and gave up four runs in

five innings of Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to Oakland.

Hendriks surrendered four runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings

against the Mariners last year, not factoring in the decision of a

5-4 loss.

Minnesota has dropped the last five meetings in the season

series with Seattle after winning the first. The Twins have totaled

11 runs in their six games versus the Mariners in 2012