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SEA@MIN: Felix fans six in fifth shutout of season

When it's been over two months since you last took a loss, you know you're doing something right. For Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, that's exactly where he's at.

Going 9-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last 14 starts, Hernandez's nine-game winning streak is tied for the longest of his career. Last taking a loss on June 12, he leads the American League in ERA (2.43 ERA), shutouts (five) and innings pitched (196 2/3).

He'll look to keep that momentum going on Saturday as the Mariners take on the Angels at Safeco Field, a place the Halos have won six straight games.

"It just looks like he's able to continue to make pitches no matter what the game situation is. I don't think he changes his game too much if he's up 5-0 or if it's 1-0," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He knows what he wants to do to hitters and he's able to do it under any conditions, and that's a huge component in a pitcher that wants to be not only that No. 1 pitcher in a staff but one of that top handful of pitchers in baseball, and one of the top five pitchers of this generation. He's good."

However, the Angels have still had their fair share of success against the right-hander. In two games against Hernandez this season, the team has managed to score 10 runs on 15 hits, holding Hernandez to an 0-1 record and a 6.23 ERA.

"We've seen a lot of him," Scioscia said. "When you see a pitcher more, and not that it makes it any easier hitting a guy with his stuff, but you certainly get an idea about what some of his tendencies are and it might help you lay off a pitch once in a while or do something with a pitch. He's tough, man. He's tough. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason why you hit a guy. But we've been fortunate to have held our own against him."

Ervin Santana will be on the hill for the Angels, looking to continue his recent streak of success. Taking major steps forward in his last six starts, the right-hander has gone 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA. He's also tossed at least six innings in his last five outings to put a positive twist on what has been an underwhelming season.

On Sunday against the Tigers, he went seven innings and surrendered four runs on five hits. In the 5-2 defeat, Santana struck out five and walked three for his 11th loss on the season.

Angels: Downs set to be activated on Saturday
• Angels reliever Scott Downs, placed on the family medical emergency list on Tuesday, is expected to be activated for Saturday's game.

• Howie Kendrick was out of the lineup for Friday's series opener, one day after the Angels' second baseman exited early with pain on the inside of his right knee.

"He feels much better today," Scioscia said before Friday's game. "We wanted to stay away from him as much as we can on Friday to see if he can be available tomorrow."

Mariners: Saunders return short-lived
• Sitting out the Mariners last six games because of a groin injury, Michael Saunders was back in the lineup on Friday.

However, he wound up leaving the game after the fourth inning and was replaced by Eric Thames. Saunders appeared to favor his right groin after sprinting to his left to catch a line drive off of Torii Hunter's bat in the fourth inning.

He was originally injured during a collision with Thames in the outfield on Aug. 24.

"He's been working hard to get back in there, so nice to get him back in there," manager Eric Wedge said before the game. "Obviously, keep a close eye on him, but we feel confident he's ready to play."

Worth noting
• Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is hitting .305 (18-for-59) with seven runs, five home runs and 21 RBIs during the first inning.

• Mike Trout scored three runs in Friday's game for the 10th time this season, which leads the Majors.

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