06/08/10 3:24 AM ET
Felix, Lewis aren't so different in terms of goals
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
It's pretty simple, really, and as Seattle plays Texas in the second game of the series at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday evening, the Mariners will be sensing urgency once again, hoping not to fall too far out of the race in such a pivotal divisional matchup.
Hernandez, the runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award last year, had a rough May, but he has been good in June, and his last outing was among his best this season.
The big right-hander flummoxed the Twins, striking out nine and allowing one run on five hits in eight innings to earn his first win since April 21.
Hernandez also pulled off the rarity of striking out four batters in an inning, which he accomplished in the eighth after a wild pitch/strikeout combo landed Joe Mauer at first, and Hernandez responded by fanning Justin Morneau to end his night, marking the first time a Seattle pitcher has fanned four in a frame since Kazuhiro Sasaki did it in 2003.
"Everything was sharp tonight, to be totally honest with you," catcher Rob Johnson said of Hernandez's effort. "His fastball was moving like crazy in both directions. The curveball-slider combo was really good tonight. He only threw a couple of changeups. The first pitch Morneau hit in the first was a changeup, then we just started going to breaking balls, and it was nasty."
Meanwhile, Lewis, who signed a two-year deal to return to the Rangers after coming into his own in Japan, was looking good in his last start against the White Sox, with a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth, but two innings and two home runs later, he had suffered a loss and fell to 1-4 despite a 3.52 ERA in his past seven outings.
"I'm not changing anything," Lewis said. "I have to pitch as well as the team is doing. That's just the way it is. I'm used to playing close games in Japan. That's the way it goes. Sometimes you score eight, sometimes you score two. One day, you'll give up six and they'll score nine."
Mariners: Wilson hot, bullpen not
Shortstop Josh Wilson has a hit in 18 of his past 20 games since May 18, and is batting .362 (25-for-69) during that span. And it's a good thing starter Cliff Lee went the full nine innings in Monday's 4-2 win. The Mariners' bullpen is 1-4 with a 10.32 ERA (26 earned runs in 22 2/3 innings) over its past nine games since May 29. ... First baseman Mike Carp was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday and immediately made an impact, going 1-for-4 and scoring a run.
Rangers: Vlad continues to conquer Mariners
Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero is fourth all time in career batting average against the Mariners, hitting .348 (140-for-402). He also has hit safely in 14 straight games at Arlington. His 86 RBIs vs. Seattle are his most against any opponent, and his 28 homers against the Mariners trails only the Phillies, whom he has 31 long balls against. ... Overall, hitters are batting .211 against Lewis, who has given up one earned run in 16 innings while striking out 13 in two starts against the Mariners this year.
Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3 in Monday night's game, snapping a 10-game hitting streak. ... The Mariners signed veteran left-hander Billy Traber to a Minor League contract. ... Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus' current 12-game hit streak is the second-longest active streak in the Majors to Toronto's Vernon Wells (14).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.