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King Felix shuts down A's as M's continue resurgence

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Felix Hernandez has never felt better at the beginning of a season. That certainly bodes well for the former Cy Young Award winner.

Hernandez took a shutout into the ninth inning, Dustin Ackley and Abraham Almonte hit home runs and the Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1 Saturday.

Hernandez (2-0) retired the first 11 batters on the way to his 16th career win over the Athletics, his most against any team. Hernandez walked one and struck out eight while allowing a run on six hits over 8 1/3 innings.

''My pitches were looking good all day long,'' Hernandez said. ''I could throw them all for strikes. I felt strong and my pitches were there. Physically I feel great and I have all my pitches.''

Fernando Rodney, who struggled during spring training, got the final two outs to record his first save with the Mariners. Robinson Cano had two hits.

''I'm just working on locating my fastball in spring,'' Rodney said. ''It was real good today; it's the season.''

Dan Straily (0-1) allowed three runs on six hits over his six innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

''It was disappointing,'' Straily said. ''A two-seamer comes back over the plate and I yanked one. I did a good job of executing the game plan minus those two pitches.''

Straily carried a shutout into the fifth inning before Ackley's towering two-run shot gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Almonte drove Straily's 1-0 pitch even deeper into the right field bleachers.

''After seeing him a couple of times you get used to what he's got and can throw out better at bats,'' Ackley said. ''There was a runner on third, maybe he's thinking about him, and gives me a pitch to hit.''

The way Hernandez was pitching, the run support was more than enough.

''I'd say for seven innings that might be the best we've seen him,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''It seemed like his fastball had a little extra hop and he mixed in his breaking stuff well.''

Jed Lowrie, who hit a home run leading off the ninth, broke up Hernandez's no-hit bid with a two-out single in the fourth.

Brandon Moss, who had two hits, followed with a bloop double but Hernandez struck out Yoenis Cespedes on three pitches.

''I saw the same guy I saw last week,'' Mariners' manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''He's pretty good. I'll take that every time.''

Coco Crisp tripled with one out in the sixth but was stranded there when Josh Donaldson struck out and Lowrie popped out.

Hernandez improved his record to 67-3 when going at least seven innings and allowing three or fewer runs.

''When we can score first it puts pressure on the other team and makes Felix even better,'' Ackley said. ''If we got one run, I thought it would be enough the way he was pitching.''

The Mariners pitching staff extended their club record season-opening streak to allowing three or fewer runs to five.

Hernandez, who turns 28 on Tuesday, ranks fourth on the all-time list with 1,722 strikeouts before the age of 28 behind Sam McDowell, Bert Blyleven and Walter Johnson.

Notes

RHP Sonny Gray (0-0, 0.00) will start Sunday's series finale against the Mariners. He's working on a 13-inning scoreless streak dating to last year after pitching six innings in the season opener.. Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 2.57) starts for the Mariners. He gave up two runs on six hits over seven innings in his first start.. Cano is batting .342 (27 for 79) in his last 19 games in Oakland.. The A's first four games averaged 3 hours, 29 minutes.. Hernandez is 5-0 in his last 10 games in Oakland. ... Cespedes, who has hit 10 homers against Seattle pitching, hit a ball into the left field bleachers in the ninth that curved foul a pitch before flying out to right.

 
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Felix Hernandez strikes out eight in 8 1/3 innings for his 16th career win vs. the A's, his most against any opponent. (USATSI)
Felix Hernandez strikes out eight in 8 1/3 innings for his 16th career win vs. the A's, his most against any opponent. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Oakland

J. Lowrie
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Seattle

F. Hernandez
IP 8.1
H 6
ER 1
BB 1
K 8
 
Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Abraham Almonte, CF4111021 .286
Brad Miller, SS4010020 .250
Robinson Cano, 2B3020100 .421
Justin Smoak, 1B4000014 .286
Corey Hart, DH4000022 .167
Kyle Seager, 3B4110010 .133
Logan Morrison, RF3010001 .222
   Michael Saunders, RF1000000 .000
Dustin Ackley, LF4112001 .300
Mike Zunino, C3000011 .235
Felix Hernandez, P0000000 .000
   Fernando Rodney, P0000000 .000
Totals3437319  
Batting
2B - Brad Miller (2, Straily), Kyle Seager (2, Straily)
HR - Abraham Almonte (1, Straily), Dustin Ackley (1, Straily)
RBI - Abraham Almonte (4), Dustin Ackley 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Abraham Almonte (1)
Team LOB - 5
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Felix Hernandez (W,2-0) 8.1611181 1.88
Fernando Rodney (S,1) 0.2000020 0.00
WP - Felix Hernandez (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Felix Hernandez 101-72, Fernando Rodney 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felix Hernandez 7-10
Batters Faced - Felix Hernandez 32, Fernando Rodney 2
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF3010110 .333
Josh Donaldson, 3B4000022 .091
Jed Lowrie, SS4121011 .278
Brandon Moss, DH4020010 .353
Yoenis Cespedes, LF4000013 .200
John Jaso, C4010021 .200
Josh Reddick, RF4000022 .100
Daric Barton, 1B3000000 .100
Eric Sogard, 2B3000000 .000
Dan Straily, P0000000 .000
   Drew Pomeranz, P0000000 .000
   Jim Johnson, P0000000 .000
   Evan Scribner, P0000000 .000
Totals33161110  
Batting
2B - Brandon Moss (2, Hernandez)
3B - Coco Crisp (1, Hernandez)
HR - Jed Lowrie (1, Hernandez)
RBI - Jed Lowrie (3)
Team LOB - 6
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Straily (L,0-1) 6633172 4.50
Drew Pomeranz 1000000 0.00
Jim Johnson 1100020 22.50
Evan Scribner 1000000 0.00
IBB - Cano by Dan Straily
WP - Dan Straily (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Straily 91-59, Drew Pomeranz 15-10, Jim Johnson 14-10, Evan Scribner 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Straily 3-8, Jim Johnson 1-0, Evan Scribner 2-1
Batters Faced - Dan Straily 25, Drew Pomeranz 3, Jim Johnson 4, Evan Scribner 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30290
Game Time - 2:22
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Manny Gonzalez, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Sean Barber