King Felix hopes to mirror perfection against Indians
(Sports Network) - Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez takes the hill for the first time since his perfect game on Tuesday when the Mariners continue a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field.
Hernandez upped his unbeaten streak to 13 on Wednesday with the first perfecto game in Mariners history, as he struck out 12 to join Chicago's Philip Humber and San Francisco's Matt Cain in tossing perfect games this season.
The brilliant effort improved Hernandez to 7-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his last 12 starts and he was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday.
"I waited for seven years to be Player of the Week. It's a great feeling," Hernandez said. "But I've got to turn the page. Tomorrow is another day. I've got nine more starts and I've got to keep doing what I'm doing right now."
Hernandez hasn't lost since June 12 and is 11-5 on the year with a 2.60 ERA.
"Just keep throwing the way I've been throwing," Hernandez said. "Just do my job. Try and help my team to win. That's what is next."
Hernandez was anything but perfect the last time he faced Cleveland back on May 16, as he was roughed up for eight runs (6 earned) in 3 2/3 innings. He is 5-4 lifetime against them with a 3.08 ERA in 12 starts.
Seattle won its sixth straight game in Monday's opener, as Michael Saunders hit a pair of two-run home runs, including the go-ahead blast in the seventh inning, to lead the Mariners to a 5-3 victory.
Eric Thames clubbed a solo shot and added a triple for the streaking Mariners, who have won 13 of 14 at Safeco Field, the best home stretch in the team's 36- year history.
"We're obviously playing good baseball right now," Saunders said. "One through nine, our five starting pitchers and our bullpen are coming in a doing a great job, so, from a team standpoint, we're playing great and we're having a lot of fun doing it.
"We're coming to the ballpark expecting to win, we have a great attitude right now, even the games we have lost, we wake up, we know it's a new day and our attitudes haven't changed."
Jason Kipnis crushed a solo home run and finished with a pair of RBI, and Asdrubal Cabrera added a run-scoring single for the Indians, who lost for the sixth consecutive time overall and fell for the 16th time in their last 17 road tilts.
Getting the call for the Tribe on Tuesday will be Roberto Hernandez, who lost his season debut on Wednesday. The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona was hit hard by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in that one, as he surrendered eight runs (5 earned) in six innings.
"His velocity was where he was in the past, sitting at 91 (mph), ball sinking down at the knees, and once in awhile he'll pop a 93," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's good enough, especially if you're throwing strikes. ... We didn't catch the ball for him, didn't help him at all."
Hernandez has faced the Mariners eight times (7 starts) and is 2-3 with a 3.10 ERA.
Cleveland has won four of six from Seattle this season.