SEATTLE (AP) — Felix Hernandez struck out 10 and allowed only two hits over seven innings, Seth Smith had three extra-base hits and two RBIs in his Seattle debut and the Mariners beat the Angels, 4-1, on Monday.
Hernandez (1-0) improved to 6-0 in opening day starts, only two of them at home. Taking the mound before a sellout crowd waving yellow “K” towels in his honor, he lifted Seattle to its ninth straight win on opening day.
Mike Trout hit a solo homer in the first inning and Erick Aybar singled leading off the fifth. That was all the Angels could do against Hernandez.
Smith was the offensive star. Acquired in an offseason trade with San Diego, Smith doubled twice and lined a two-out RBI triple to score Austin Jackson with Seattle’s first run of the season. All three hits came off Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver (0-1).
Smith became the first player in Mariners history to have three extra-base hits on opening day. Dustin Ackley added a solo home run and Robinson Cano had an RBI single as Seattle’s season of high expectations got off to a rousing start.
Hernandez struck out at least 10 batters for the third time on opening day. He struck out 12 in 2007 against Oakland and 11 last year against the Angels.
Hernandez is just the fourth pitcher dating to 1914 with at least three opening day starts of 10 or more strikeouts, joining Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Bob Gibson.
Carson Smith struck out Trout with two runners on to end the eighth and Fernando Rodney pitched an uneventful ninth for his first save.
Trout homered off Hernandez in the opener for the second straight year. Jackson had a chance to rob Trout of the homer, but appeared to mistime his jump at the wall. It was Trout’s third homer off Hernandez and 99th of his career, and the only mistake Hernandez made. He retired nine straight after the home run and allowed only four total base runners.
Hernandez got himself into trouble in the fifth giving up a leadoff single to Aybar — the first hit since Trout’s homer — and hitting C.J. Cron on the arm. But he was out of the jam quickly, striking out Chris Iannetta and getting Johnny Giavotella to hit into a double play.
Weaver pitched six innings for the Angels, but it was knocked around in the third and fifth innings. He gave up eight hits.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards will pitch in extended spring training on Thursday as he continues to recover from a knee injury suffered last August. … RHP Cory Rasmus is still weeks away from beginning a throwing program after surgery to repair a core injury, manager Mike Scioscia said.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton starts for Seattle on Tuesday. Paxton missed a couple of starts during spring training after falling during an agility drill, but said despite the fewer innings he feels ready for the season.
Angels: C.J. Wilson will start looking for his 16th win against Seattle since 2006.
Mariners: Paxton gets the call for Seattle in Game 2, rather than Hisashi Iwakuma. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon split his top two right-handers in the rotation with the hard-throwing young lefty.
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