Though Felix Hernandez has been unable to beat the Texas Rangers of late, his Seattle Mariners teammates have not supplied him with much support.
The star right-hander looks to avoid a fourth straight losing home start to the Rangers while trying to help the Mariners to a third consecutive victory Saturday night.
Hernandez (3-1, 2.04 ERA) is 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his last six starts against Texas, but the Mariners (9-13) scored 11 runs with him on the mound. He allowed a run, four hits and struck out nine in seven innings and left with a 2-1 lead at Texas on April 16 before Fernando Rodney yielded two ninth-inning runs in the 3-2 defeat.
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Hernandez is 12-20 with a 4.10 ERA in 40 starts against Texas (14-9).
"They’ve got my number, so I had to throw a good game," he told the Mariners’ official website. "I was really concentrating on trying to make good pitches. I didn’t change anything, I just attacked the strike zone. Against the Texas Rangers, you’ve got to be like that. You have to be on top."
After going 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in two home starts against Texas in 2012, Hernandez went 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA in three matchups at Safeco Field last season.
He gave up six runs – two earned – in seven innings of a 7-2 home loss to Houston on Monday. An error by third baseman Kyle Seager led to those four unearned runs in the sixth inning.
Adrian Beltre, who is batting .345 (10 for 29) with a home run against Hernandez, lined to first baseman Justin Smoak for a game-ending double play with the bases loaded Friday as Texas lost for the second time in 10 games, 6-5.
Smoak’s two-run double highlighted a four-run eighth for the Mariners, who have scored 11 runs while winning two in a row to follow an eight-game slide during which they totaled 18.
Robinson Cano had two hits with two RBIs and is 8 for 19 in the last five games after going 4 for 25 in his previous six.
He went 1 for 3 against scheduled Texas starter Colby Lewis (1-1, 4.22) on April 14. The right-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss in his first appearance since July 18, 2012.
Lewis, who missed all of last season while undergoing elbow and hip surgery, rebounded to earn his first victory since June 17, 2012, by giving up a run in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox last Saturday.
”It’s pretty sentimental," Lewis told the Rangers’ official website. "Definitely excited to get that first victory out of the way and move on."
He has not pitched in Seattle since 2011, but is 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA at Safeco since going 0-4 with a 3.72 ERA over his first six starts there.
While Beltre returned Friday from missing 14 games with a quad strain, it’s uncertain if Texas leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo will be headed to the disabled list after he missed his third straight with a foot injury. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was the latest Ranger placed on the DL on Friday because of a back injury.
"You’ve just got to keep going," manager Ron Washington said.