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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Felix Hernandez worked quickly in the rising heat.
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The temperature was 98 at the first pitch and 105 by the time the game ended.
"I was not thinking about the heat," Hernandez said. "I know it was hot. I just tried to throw strikes and get quick outs.
"I was not trying to pitch to contact, but just throw strikes," Hernandez said. "It's hot like 103, but I don't feel it that much. I'm trying to get quick outs and get out of the inning."
Hernandez (8-5) is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his past seven starts since a loss to San Diego on June 12. While he leads the majors with 143 strikeouts, Hernandez struck out only three, tying his season low. He allowed one run and eight hits, throwing only 89 pitches in eight innings.
"He got a lot of quick outs. He was strong again today, a lot of life at end of his pitches and he was down," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He really only had to work that last inning. That was big too. That game gets real close, real quick if one of those guys comes through. He really stepped up right there those last two hitters."
Hernandez permitted four singles in the first two innings, but got double-play grounders in both to keep his pitch count down.
The Mariners jumped on Royals rookie left-hander Will Smith (1-3) for three runs in the second with Montero leading off the inning with his ninth home run. Michael Saunders had an RBI single and Brendan Ryan added a sacrifice fly.
"It was a bad pitch 1-2," Smith said. "That's supposed to be a pitcher's count."
The Mariners increased the lead to 4-0 in the fifth when Ichiro Suzuki doubled and scored on Montero's single.
Montero had an RBI double off the left-field railing in the seventh inning and added a sacrifice fly in the ninth to match his career high with four RBI.
Smith, just recalled from Triple-A Omaha, gave up four runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, while walking two and striking out five.
The Mariners won three of four against the Royals, who have lost 13 of 17 games.
"I thought it was a great series overall," Wedge said. "I loved the way we played, a total team effort. You talk about a vision the way you want your team to play and how you want to go out there and play major league baseball and this is about it. This is what we're looking for."
|Felix Hernandez yields one run in eight innings to defeat the Royals and move to 4-0 over his last seven starts. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Dustin Ackley, 2B||4||1||1||0||1||1||1||.233|
|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||5||1||2||0||0||0||2||.265|
|Casper Wells, LF||3||1||0||0||2||1||1||.273|
|Jesus Montero, DH||4||1||3||4||0||0||0||.262|
|Kyle Seager, 3B||5||1||1||0||0||1||3||.243|
|Justin Smoak, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||0||3||.198|
|John Jaso, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.280|
|Michael Saunders, CF||4||0||2||1||0||0||1||.261|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||3||0||0||1||0||2||2||.190|
|2B - Ichiro Suzuki (15, Smith), Jesus Montero (15, Coleman)|
|HR - Jesus Montero (9, Smith)|
|SF - Jesus Montero (4), Brendan Ryan (4)|
|SH - John Jaso (1)|
|RBI - Jesus Montero 4 (36), Michael Saunders (31), Brendan Ryan (23)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Ryan-Ackley-Smoak, Ackley-Ryan-Smoak|
|Felix Hernandez (W,8-5)||8||8||1||1||1||3||0||2.82|
|Pitches-Strikes - Felix Hernandez 88-65, Lucas Luetge 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felix Hernandez 12-6, Lucas Luetge 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Felix Hernandez 30, Lucas Luetge 3|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Alex Gordon, LF||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.292|
|Alcides Escobar, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.308|
|Billy Butler, DH||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.297|
|Mike Moustakas, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.267|
|Lorenzo Cain, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.289|
|Eric Hosmer, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.225|
|Salvador Perez, C||3||0||2||0||0||0||1||.377|
|Chris Getz, 2B||3||0||1||1||0||0||2||.299|
|Jarrod Dyson, CF||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.250|
|2B - Eric Hosmer (16, Hernandez)|
|RBI - Chris Getz (12)|
|CS - Chris Getz (2, 2nd base by Hernandez/Jaso)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Will Smith (L,1-3)||6.1||8||4||4||2||5||1||7.97|
|WP - Will Smith 2 (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Will Smith 90-59, Louis Coleman 12-5, Francisley Bueno 28-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Will Smith 6-8, Francisley Bueno 2-5|
|Batters Faced - Will Smith 29, Louis Coleman 2, Francisley Bueno 10|
|Attendance - 16706|
|Game Time - 2:31|
|Temperature - 98|
|Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Jim Joyce|