Felix Hernandez tied Jamie Moyer’s franchise record for career victories at 145 in the Seattle Mariners’ 1-0 victory over Kansas City on Friday night, the Royals’ fourth straight loss.
Seth Smith provided the only run – and the only hit – for the Mariners, leading off the sixth inning with a home run to right off Royals starter Kris Medlen (1-2).
Hernandez (2-2), in his 11th season with the Mariners, was appearing in his 339th game, all starts. Moyer appeared in 324 games for Seattle from 1996 to 2006.
Hernandez worked 7 2-3 innings, allowing five hits, walking three and striking out four. He threw a season-high 118 pitches.
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Steve Cishek pitched the ninth inning to pick up his sixth save in as many opportunities. Center fielder Leonys Martin made a game-ending catch off Salvador Perez, crashing into the wall to preserve the victory.
Hernandez has put himself among the best first-month pitchers ever. Dating to 1913 when ERA became an official stat in both leagues, Hernandez has the third-best April ERA (minimum 200 innings pitched) at 2.41. He trails only Bob Feller (2.04) and Walter Johnson (2.21).
On April 23, Hernandez broke Randy Johnson’s club record for strikeouts. He has 2,170.
Medlen struggled early, walking his first two batters before working out of the jam with three straight outs. He then walked two more in the second, also without damage. He had retired the previous 10 batters before Smith hit an 0-1 changeup just over the wall and right fielder Jarrod Dyson’s outstretched glove.
Seattle has won six of 10.
Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games with a second-inning swinging-bunt single just to the left of the mound. He is hitting .366 during the streak. It also extended his career-high reaching base to 30 straight games, dating to Sept. 27.
DEVIL IN THE STATS
Mariners manager Scott Servais said in his opinion not only is batting average an overrated statistic “it can be the devil.” He said the more important numbers deal with on-base percentage and run production. Robinson Cano is his example, hitting just .236 but leading the AL in home runs (8) and RBIs (24).
Mariners: LHP Charlie Furbush (biceps tendinitis), who began the season the DL, is on a regular throwing routine and could be ready for a rehab assignment. … RHP Joaquin Benoit (shoulder inflammation) has been on the DL for four days and has not yet begun throwing. That likely will happen this weekend.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura (2-0, 2.35) hopes to extend his rash of success since being recalled from Triple-A on July 22, 2015. He is 11-1 with a 3.03 ERA (112 strikeouts in 110 innings) in 18 starts since then. Against Seattle, he is 0-2 in four career starts.
Mariners: LHP Wade Miley (1-2, 7.04) won his first game as a Mariner on Sunday against the Angels, going 7 1-3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs in a 9-4 decision. He is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in five career starts against the Royals.