King Again: Hernandez starts strong as M's top Indians 2-1

SEATTLE (AP) Felix Hernandez delivered the type of opening day performance the Seattle Mariners have come to expect - even after missing some time during spring training.

It's just a new version of Hernandez that got the job done.

''I had to do my job. It was good. It was fun,'' Hernandez said.

Hernandez pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run home run in the first and the Mariners opened the season with a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.

Hernandez became just the seventh pitcher to start at least 10 straight opening days, and he got off to a strong start against one of the best teams in the American League. Hernandez allowed two hits in 5 1/3 innings, only being pulled due to a limited pitch count. His spring training was truncated after being hit by a line drive and missing some time.

He has seven opening day wins, tied with Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver and Jimmy Key for fourth most.

''Can't say enough about the job Felix did tonight. Limited work in spring training and compete like that. Really stayed with the game plan. His curveball was outstanding all night,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

Following Hernandez, the Mariners used five relievers. Edwin Diaz hit two batters in the ninth and let pinch-runner Rajai Davis reach third with one out. But Diaz struck out Yan Gomes and Tyler Naquin to close out the save.

Hernandez (1-0) was given an early jolt from Cruz, who picked up where 2017 left off. After hitting 39 home runs last year, Cruz hit the first pitch he saw from Corey Kluber (0-1) over the center field fence for an early 2-0 lead. The 88 mph cutter stayed in the middle of the plate, and Cruz didn't miss.

That was all Seattle would get against Kluber, who pitched eight innings and allowed six hits.

''It was supposed to be a cutter down and away. I just got underneath it, and it ended up kind of just spinning, hanging pretty much middle-middle,'' Kluber said.

Seattle has asked Hernandez not to be afraid of contact. He's no longer the strikeout pitcher of his younger years, when his fastball regularly clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s. Location and smarts are keys now.

For at least one outing, it looked like the changes are taking hold.

Hernandez allowed singles to Jason Kipnis in the third inning and Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth, but most of the contact made was weak and easy outs. He even quick-pitched Bradley Zimmer for a strikeout ending the fifth inning.

Hernandez walked Kipnis on four pitches with one out in the sixth, ending his night at 83 pitches. Dan Altavilla got Jose Ramirez to ground into a double play, and the Mariners were through the sixth without allowing a run.

Cleveland got its only run in the seventh after Lonnie Chisenhall doubled with two outs and Gomes' flair to center field dropped in front of Dee Gordon. It was the only time Seattle allowed a runner past second base.

''It's been a while since we opened at home, so it was really good,'' Hernandez said.

ICHIRO RETURNS

Ichiro Suzuki played left field and went 0 for 2 in his first game with Seattle since being traded to the New York Yankees in 2012. Suzuki signed as a free agent with the Mariners this month, reuniting him with the club where he played his first 12 seasons. The Japanese star was greeted by huge cheers during player introductions and prior to his first at-bat.

HONORING TITO

During the pregame ceremony the Mariners included Tito Francona - father of Cleveland manager Terry Francona - among those with ties to baseball that passed away since the end of last season. Terry Francona appeared moved by the gesture, and Francisco Lindor put his arm around his manager during the moment of silence.

''I was stunned. I wasn't ready for that. It was very classy on their part. I kind of had to catch myself right there,'' Francona said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: OF Michael Brantley was placed on the 10-day disabled list as Cleveland finalized its roster, but he is progressing in his rehab from right ankle surgery. Brantley was scheduled to only play seven innings in his last spring training stint with Triple-A Columbus but played all nine because he was feeling so good.

Mariners: C Mike Zunino was a late scratch for the opener due to stiffness in his right side. Zunino felt the stiffness develop after his final swing of batting practice during Wednesday's workout. ... RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder surgery) and Erasmo Ramirez (lat strain) both threw bullpens Thursday as they continue recovery from their injuries.

UP NEXT

Indians: Cleveland will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound on Saturday. Carrasco won his final six decisions of the 2017 regular season as part of an 18-win season.

Mariners: Seattle will have lefty James Paxton on the mound. Paxton was 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 2017.

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123456789RHE
CLE0-1
000000100150
SEA1-0
20000000X261
  • W: F. Hernandez (1-0)L: C. Kluber (0-1)S: E. Diaz (1)
  • HR: SEA - N. Cruz (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
F. Lindor SS40000000.000.000.000.0000.0
J. Kipnis 2B30100110.333.500.333.8331.5
J. Ramirez 3B40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
Y. Alonso 1B40000020.000.000.000.000-1.0
E. Encarnacion DH20100000.500.667.5001.1672.0
R. Davis PR-DH00000000.000.000.000.0002.0
L. Chisenhall RF31100002.333.500.6671.1676.0
Y. Gomes C30110112.333.500.333.8332.5
T. Naquin LF40100024.250.250.250.5000.0
B. Zimmer CF30000022.000.000.000.000-1.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    D. Gordon CF30100110.333.500.333.8331.5
    J. Segura SS40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
    R. Cano 2B31100010.333.333.333.6671.5
    N. Cruz DH31121000.333.3331.3331.6677.0
    K. Seager 3B30000020.000.000.000.000-1.0
    M. Haniger RF303000001.0001.0001.3332.3334.0
    R. Healy 1B30000013.000.000.000.000-0.5
    M. Marjama C30000012.000.000.000.000-0.5
    I. Suzuki LF20000011.000.000.000.000-0.5
    G. Heredia LF10000010.000.000.000.000-0.5
      BATTING
      • 2B - L. Chisenhall
      • RBI - Y. Gomes
      • 2-Out RBI - Y. Gomes
      BATTING
      • 2B - M. Haniger
      • HR - N. Cruz
      • RBI - N. Cruz 2 (2)
      • 2-Out RBI - N. Cruz 2 (2)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - R. Davis, L. Chisenhall
      FIELDING
      • E - M. Marjama
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      C. Kluber (L, 0-1)8.06221812.250.8817.0
      PITCHERSIP
      C. Kluber (L, 0-1)8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      F. Hernandez (W, 1-0)5.12002400.000.7520.0
      D. Altavilla (H, 1)0.20000000.000.000.0
      M. Rzepczynski (H, 1)0.10000000.000.000.0
      N. Vincent (H, 1)0.231100013.504.50-4.0
      J. Nicasio (H, 1)1.00000100.000.003.5
      E. Diaz (S, 1)1.00000300.000.0011.5
      PITCHERSIP
      F. Hernandez (W, 1-0)5.1
      D. Altavilla (H, 1)0.2
      M. Rzepczynski (H, 1)0.1
      N. Vincent (H, 1)0.2
      J. Nicasio (H, 1)1.0
      E. Diaz (S, 1)1.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - C. Kluber 91-66
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Kluber 11-3
      • Batters Faced - C. Kluber 29
      PITCHING
      • HBP - E. Diaz 2 (2)
      • Pitches-Strikes - F. Hernandez 83-49, D. Altavilla 3-3, M. Rzepczynski 1-1, N. Vincent 13-9, J. Nicasio 17-10, E. Diaz 20-13
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - F. Hernandez 6-5, D. Altavilla 1-0
      • Batters Faced - F. Hernandez 20, D. Altavilla, M. Rzepczynski, N. Vincent 5, J. Nicasio 3, E. Diaz 5
      • Balks - E. Diaz
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      CLE0-1
      000000100150
      SEA1-0
      20000000X261
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      F. Lindor SS40000000.000.000.000.0000.0
      J. Kipnis 2B30100110.333.500.333.8331.5
      J. Ramirez 3B40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
      Y. Alonso 1B40000020.000.000.000.000-1.0
      E. Encarnacion DH20100000.500.667.5001.1672.0
      R. Davis PR-DH00000000.000.000.000.0002.0
      L. Chisenhall RF31100002.333.500.6671.1676.0
      Y. Gomes C30110112.333.500.333.8332.5
      T. Naquin LF40100024.250.250.250.5000.0
      B. Zimmer CF30000022.000.000.000.000-1.0
      Total3015102812-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        D. Gordon CF30100110.333.500.333.8331.5
        J. Segura SS40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
        R. Cano 2B31100010.333.333.333.6671.5
        N. Cruz DH31121000.333.3331.3331.6677.0
        K. Seager 3B30000020.000.000.000.000-1.0
        M. Haniger RF303000001.0001.0001.3332.3334.0
        R. Healy 1B30000013.000.000.000.000-0.5
        M. Marjama C30000012.000.000.000.000-0.5
        I. Suzuki LF20000011.000.000.000.000-0.5
        G. Heredia LF10000010.000.000.000.000-0.5
        Total282621188-----
          BATTING
          • 2B - L. Chisenhall
          • RBI - Y. Gomes
          • 2-Out RBI - Y. Gomes
          BATTING
          • 2B - M. Haniger
          • HR - N. Cruz
          • RBI - N. Cruz 2 (2)
          • 2-Out RBI - N. Cruz 2 (2)
          BASERUNNING
          • SB - R. Davis, L. Chisenhall
          FIELDING
          • E - M. Marjama
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          C. Kluber (L, 0-1)8.06221812.250.8817.0
          Total8.0622181---
          PITCHERSIP
          C. Kluber (L, 0-1)8.0
          Total8.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          F. Hernandez (W, 1-0)5.12002400.000.7520.0
          D. Altavilla (H, 1)0.20000000.000.000.0
          M. Rzepczynski (H, 1)0.10000000.000.000.0
          N. Vincent (H, 1)0.231100013.504.50-4.0
          J. Nicasio (H, 1)1.00000100.000.003.5
          E. Diaz (S, 1)1.00000300.000.0011.5
          Total9.0511280---
          PITCHERSIP
          F. Hernandez (W, 1-0)5.1
          D. Altavilla (H, 1)0.2
          M. Rzepczynski (H, 1)0.1
          N. Vincent (H, 1)0.2
          J. Nicasio (H, 1)1.0
          E. Diaz (S, 1)1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • Pitches-Strikes - C. Kluber 91-66
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Kluber 11-3
          • Batters Faced - C. Kluber 29
          PITCHING
          • HBP - E. Diaz 2 (2)
          • Pitches-Strikes - F. Hernandez 83-49, D. Altavilla 3-3, M. Rzepczynski 1-1, N. Vincent 13-9, J. Nicasio 17-10, E. Diaz 20-13
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - F. Hernandez 6-5, D. Altavilla 1-0
          • Batters Faced - F. Hernandez 20, D. Altavilla, M. Rzepczynski, N. Vincent 5, J. Nicasio 3, E. Diaz 5
          • Balks - E. Diaz
          • 7TH INNING
            Gomes singled to center, Chisenhall scored12
          • 1ST INNING
            Cruz homered to center, Cano scored02
          • 9TH INNING
            • Edwin Diaz relieved Juan Nicasio
            • Y. Alonso: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Alonso struck out swinging
            • E. Encarnacion: Ball, Encarnacion hit by pitch
            • Rajai Davis ran for Edwin Encarnacion
            • L. Chisenhall: Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Davis to second on balk, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Chisenhall hit by pitch
            • Y. Gomes: Ball, Chisenhall stole second, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Gomes struck out swinging
            • T. Naquin: Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Naquin struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 8TH INNING
            • Guillermo Heredia in left
            • Juan Nicasio relieved Nick Vincent
            • F. Lindor: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Lindor flied out to deep right
            • J. Kipnis: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Kipnis struck out swinging
            • J. Ramirez: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ramirez popped out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • M. Marjama: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Marjama struck out swinging
            • G. Heredia: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Strike looking, Heredia struck out looking
            • D. Gordon: Ball, Gordon singled to left
            • J. Segura: Segura grounded out to second
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • Marc Rzepczynski relieved Dan Altavilla
            • Y. Alonso: Alonso lined out to shortstop
            • Nick Vincent relieved Marc Rzepczynski
            • E. Encarnacion: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Encarnacion flied out to deep left
            • L. Chisenhall: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Chisenhall doubled to right
            • Y. Gomes: Ball, Gomes singled to center, Chisenhall scored
            • T. Naquin: Foul, Naquin singled to left, Gomes to second
            • B. Zimmer: Zimmer lined out to first
            • Middle of the 7th (1 Run, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • N. Cruz: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Cruz lined out to center
            • K. Seager: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Seager struck out looking
            • M. Haniger: Ball, Haniger singled to center
            • R. Healy: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Healy reached on fielder's choice to shortstop, Haniger out at second
            • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • F. Hernandez Pitching:
            • F. Lindor: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Lindor grounded out to third
            • J. Kipnis: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Kipnis walked
            • Dan Altavilla relieved Felix Hernandez
            • J. Ramirez: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ramirez grounded into double play shortstop to first, Kipnis out at second
            • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • D. Gordon: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Gordon grounded out to first
            • J. Segura: Ball, Strike looking, Segura grounded out to shortstop
            • R. Cano: Cano grounded out to shortstop
            • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • F. Hernandez Pitching:
            • Y. Gomes: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Gomes fouled out to catcher
            • T. Naquin: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Naquin grounded out to second
            • B. Zimmer: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Zimmer struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • M. Haniger: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Haniger doubled to deep left
            • R. Healy: Strike looking, Ball, Healy flied out to center
            • M. Marjama: Strike looking, Marjama grounded out to shortstop
            • I. Suzuki: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Suzuki struck out swinging
            • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • F. Hernandez Pitching:
            • Y. Alonso: Foul, Alonso grounded out to second
            • E. Encarnacion: Ball, Ball, Encarnacion singled to right center
            • L. Chisenhall: Foul, Chisenhall grounded into double play shortstop to first, Encarnacion out at second
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • R. Cano: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Cano struck out looking
            • N. Cruz: Ball, Cruz grounded out to third
            • K. Seager: Foul, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Seager struck out swinging
            • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 3RD INNING
            • F. Hernandez Pitching:
            • B. Zimmer: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Zimmer struck out looking
            • F. Lindor: Foul, Lindor flied out to center
            • J. Kipnis: Ball, Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Foul, Kipnis singled to right center
            • J. Ramirez: Ramirez flied out to left
            • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • I. Suzuki: Strike looking, Suzuki grounded out to first
            • D. Gordon: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Gordon walked
            • J. Segura: Ball, Foul, Segura grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Gordon out at second
            • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • F. Hernandez Pitching:
            • Y. Alonso: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Alonso struck out swinging
            • E. Encarnacion: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Foul, Encarnacion reached on catcher's interference
            • L. Chisenhall: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Chisenhall popped out to third
            • Y. Gomes: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Gomes walked, Encarnacion to second
            • T. Naquin: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Naquin struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 1 Error)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • M. Haniger: Strike looking, Haniger singled to center
            • R. Healy: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Healy struck out swinging
            • M. Marjama: Strike looking, Marjama grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Haniger out at second
            • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • F. Hernandez Pitching:
            • F. Lindor: Ball, Lindor popped out to shortstop
            • J. Kipnis: Ball, Kipnis grounded out to second
            • J. Ramirez: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ramirez grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • C. Kluber Pitching:
            • D. Gordon: Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
            • J. Segura: Strike looking, Segura grounded out to catcher
            • R. Cano: Cano singled to deep right
            • N. Cruz: Cruz homered to center, Cano scored
            • K. Seager: Strike swinging, Seager flied out to right
            • End of the 1st (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)