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HOU@SEA: Felix fans nine, holds Astros to one

Felix Hernandez has had trouble with the Angels over the years, but the Mariners ace seems to have turned that around recently as he prepares for Wednesday's meeting with C.J. Wilson at Safeco Field.

Hernandez owns a 9-13 career record with a 3.89 ERA in 36 career starts against the Halos, but since the start of 2013 he's 3-1 with a 1.61 in four meetings, including a dominant victory on Opening Day at Angel Stadium.

Hernandez allowed four hits and three runs -- two earned -- with one walk and 11 strikeouts in a 10-3 victory on March 31 as the Mariners swept the opening three-game set in Anaheim. That win helped set the tone for an excellent start to the 28-year-old's 10th Major League season.

Hernandez brings a 6-1 record and 2.75 ERA into Wednesday's game and has won his last three starts, including eight innings of one-run ball against Houston on Friday.

"Everything was working," Hernandez said of his latest start. "It was crazy. I was throwing a lot of strikes. The game plan was to throw a lot of strikes and use a lot of fastballs."

Wilson enters the matchup with a 6-3 record and a 3.00 ERA on the season. Against the Mariners, he is 14-7, throwing more than 145 innings with 142 strikeouts with a 3.77 ERA. The last time he faced them, on April 1, he gave up a season-high six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. He's won six of his last nine starts, and two in a row.

The Angels have a five-game improvement over last year's pace and have won 12 of their last 17 games. During that span, the starters have a 2.72 ERA.

In his last start, against the Royals Friday, Wilson gave up four hits to go along with four walks and two hit batters, but still pitched six innings with just one run in an Angels victory.

He credited his changeup for helping him get through an outing in which he struggled with command.

"I think the changeup for me has been a big development this year," Wilson said. "[Friday] I was able to use it multiple times in counts and get guys out. I got a bunch of outs on it.

Mariners: McClendon will pick spots to run
The Mariners had three stolen bases in one inning Monday against Angels catcher Hank Conger, equaling the season high for a game for a team that ranked 12th in the American League with 24 steals in its first 50 games.

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he'll continue to pick his spots with a club that doesn't have a lot of speed beyond new leadoff man James Jones, who shares the team lead with Robinson Cano with four even though he's played just 22 games.

"When we get a guy we think we can take advantage of, we'll run," McClendon said. "When a guy is 1.18 to 1.2 [seconds] to the plate, you're not going to be able to run. That's just the way it is. We can all do the math. If a guy is 1.22 and the catcher is 1.9 and it takes your guy 3.3 to 3.4 to get there, you're not going to be safe.

"But somehow, that all gets lost in the sabermetrics and all this stuff. You can't run when you can't run. Do the math. That's why we have those little stopwatches, trying to figure it out. If you can't run, you can't run. Especially when you've got guys that can't run. So it all adds up. That's just the way it is."

Angels: Scioscia sticking with platoons
Angels manager Mike Scioscia went into the season hoping to ride the same lineup all year.

An assortment of injuries and some individual struggles have turned it into a platoon, with Raul Ibanez, Kole Calhoun and Hank Conger mainly starting against righties and right-handed hitters C.J. Cron, Grant Green and Chris Iannetta starting against lefties -- like Tuesday starter Roenis Elias -- most of the time.

"There's no doubt we've had to mix and match as much as we ever have," Scioscia said. "I think we've found good offensive chemistry against both righties and lefties that has helped us to score runs and keep ourselves afloat. We need it to continue."

Worth noting
• Hernandez is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA in nine starts this season against the American League West.

• The Mariners, who have won five of seven games against the Angels, have not won a season series against the Halos since going 11-8 in 2003.

• The Angels entered Tuesday with a 2.85 ERA and a .195 batting average against on the road, two marks that were tops in the Majors.

• Ernesto Frieri has allowed one earned run in his last 12 appearances, with four saves, two holds and 15 strikeouts. Prior to that, he had allowed seven runs in his previous 3 2/3 innings.

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