SEATTLE -- With King Felix Hernandez welcoming Dan Haren to Safeco Field, it figured to be a royal duel on Wednesday night.
Hernandez was typically brilliant. Haren was characteristically resourceful. When Haren's resources -- and luck -- ran out in the eighth inning, the Mariners prevailed, 2-1, on Mike Carp's two-out, two-run double to left-center against Angels reliever Scott Downs.
"He's one of the best," Haren said of Hernandez, who struck out nine in going the distance, holding the Angels to a run on five hits. "He can bring out the best in opposing pitchers as well. He's that good."
Falling for the second time in three games to the youthful Mariners, the Angels remained 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the American League West chase. Texas lost, 4-1, to Tampa Bay in Arlington.
Haren had the upper hand until two-out singles by Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley on a pair of cut fastballs ended his night with runners at the corners.
Carp launched a Downs sinker that didn't sink enough beyond fleet Peter Bourjos' reach at the base of the wall to score both runners.
"Scotty's had an incredible season," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his left-handed setup artist. "You're not going to get everybody out, although he's come as close as we've seen.
"Scotty didn't make the pitch he wanted. He made a real good 2-0 pitch but couldn't repeat it 2-1. It was a sinker he was trying to get away and left it up in the middle. Carp hit it hard, squared it up."
Mark Trumbo, who had homered twice against Hernandez in six at-bats coming into the game, came close to tying it. But his deep drive to right fell short of the wall for the final out.
"I was real excited about sending Felix back out there for that last inning," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He's had some tough losses in low-scoring games in his career and this year, too. I loved to see him take the bull by the horns out there and just finish it off.
"It's a big deal because he's our guy. He's not just a No. 1; he's a true ace. When he goes out there we feel like we have a very good chance to win the ballgame. Having said that, we've got to score some runs. And for our guys to step up late like that in that type of ballgame for Felix, it means a great deal."
Haren, who in one stretch this season gave up 10 earned runs in six starts without a win, slipped to 13-8 with the loss. Hernandez, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, moved to 13-11.
"He was strong pretty much the whole game," Bourjos said of Hernandez. "He was locating his fastball and kept everything down. His split was diving, his curveball or breaking ball was down, and he kept us off-balance."
Howard Kendrick's two-out single had given Haren a third-inning lead he tenaciously protected through seven innings.
Mike Trout, rewarded with another start after his two-homer performance on Tuesday night, led off the third with a single to center field. Bunted to second by Jeff Mathis, Trout scored easily on Kendrick's single to left.
The Angels tried to force their running game, stealing two bases in the fourth and another in the eighth. But Hernandez reached back and shut them down with his electric stuff.
Haren issued a first-inning walk and a one-out double to Kyle Seager in the second, then went about the business of putting hitters away -- 15 in a row.
The streak ended with Carp's line-drive single to right with one out in the seventh. With two outs, Seager went the other way with a single to left, Carp stopping at second. When third baseman Alberto Callaspo booted Casper Wells' bouncer toward shortstop, the Mariners had the bases loaded for Brendan Ryan.
Jumping ahead 0-2 in the count, Haren got to 2-2 and retired Ryan on a one-hopper back to the mound.
With exceptional movement on his fastball and off-speed stuff, Haren struck out seven -- including the side in the third inning. He yielded five hits and a walk.
"I had a really good fastball," Haren said, "and I was getting strikeouts with it."
Ichiro Suzuki, riding a 13-game hitting streak, was unable to solve Haren. Ichiro was hitless in four at-bats.
It was the fourth time Hernandez and Haren have locked up, and all four have been gems. The Mariners have claimed three of the decisions, Hernandez yielding three earned runs in 31 innings (0.87 ERA). Haren has been charged with four earned runs in 29 innings (1.24 ERA).
"I'll probably see him again," Haren said, grinning.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.