SEATTLE (AP) — Felix Hernandez took a shutout bid into the ninth inning, coming within one out of his first complete game since August 2012 as the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Mike Zunino homered and drove in all of Seattle’s runs.
Hernandez (7-1) became the seventh pitcher in Mariners history with seven victories before June 1. He won his fourth consecutive start with his most dominant performance of the season.
Zunino gave Hernandez the lead with a two-out, two-run single in the second inning. The catcher, batting ninth, led off the eighth with a home run against C.J. Wilson (6-4).
Five of Zunino’s seven homers this season have come in Hernandez starts.
Hernandez was on the verge of his first complete game since Aug. 27, 2012 against Minnesota. He cruised through the eighth, still hitting the mid-90s mph on the stadium radar gun and closed the inning striking out Hank Conger.
Hernandez had allowed just two hits when he jogged from the dugout to start the ninth to a big ovation while closer Fernando Rodney warmed up in the bullpen. He struck out Collin Cowgill swinging and retired Howie Kendrick on a fly ball.
Mike Trout singled and Albert Pujols’ RBI double ended Hernandez’s night at 116 pitches. He struck out nine and walked two.
Rodney entered and got David Freese to line out for his 13th save of the season.
Hernandez struck out five of the first nine batters. Kendrick ended any thoughts of another special night from Hernandez with a solid single leading off the fourth. Trout then walked, but Hernandez skirted the jam thanks to Zunino throwing out Kendrick trying to steal third and Freese’s strikeout.
Wilson was nearly the equal of Hernandez. Also trying to get his seventh win, Wilson allowed just five hits and struck out five before getting lifted with two outs in the eighth.
Wilson got in trouble in the second, giving up a leadoff single to Justin Smoak and walking Kyle Seager. John Buck grounded out, but was able to advance both runners, and Dustin Ackley fouled out behind third before Zunino snapped a 0-for-10 skid by slicing single into right field.
NOTES: Matt Shoemaker will start Thursday’s series finale for the Angels. He was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake after LHP Sean Burnett tore a ligament in his pitching elbow in Tuesday’s game. LHP Wade LeBlanc, the original starter, will now work out of the bullpen. … Seattle RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder) made his first rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday night and threw three innings, giving up five hits, four earned runs and striking out three. He threw 61 pitches.