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News » Rangers-Mariners Preview 2009-05-04


Rangers-Mariners Preview 2009-05-04


Rangers-Mariners Preview 2009-05-04
Felix Hernandez is off to the best start of his five-year career. It could get better if he can reverse his fortunes against the Texas Rangers.

Coming off a perfect April, the right-hander looks for his fifth win when the Seattle Mariners open a two-game home series with the Rangers on Monday night.

Hernandez (4-0, 2.38 ERA) allowed four hits and struck out nine in eight scoreless innings of a 9-1 road win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. After not allowing a run in consecutive starts, Hernandez's scoreless-innings streak reached 19, the longest by a Mariner since J.J. Putz went 22 innings in 2007.

"I just want to go out there and pound the strike zone, that's all," Hernandez told the Mariners' official Web site.

The 23-year-old has not always been able to do that against Texas.

He is 4-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 16 starts against the Rangers. He also went 0-4 with a 4.04 ERA in six starts last season, walking 20 in 35 2-3 innings.

Hernandez might not have an easy time changing his luck when the AL West-leading Mariners (15-10) face Texas (12-12) for the first time this season. The Rangers - 2 1/2 games behind Seattle in the division - went 11-8 versus the Mariners last season, including 5-4 at Safeco Field.

Set to open a seven-game road trip, Texas is looking for its third straight victory after winning 5-1 over the White Sox on Sunday to take two of three in the home series.

Ian Kinsler hit his ninth homer, and the eighth leadoff shot of his career to tie a club record.

"It's a really good feeling to be leading 1-0 after one at-bat," said Kinsler, who has three leadoff homers this season and is batting .337 with 25 RBIs in 24 games. "It's just something that kind of happens. It's not like I'm going out there trying to hit a home run my first at bat."

Michael Young had two hits to extend his hitting streak to seven games for the Rangers. Young is hitting .387 (12-for-31) during his run and .308 (12-for-39) versus Hernandez.

While Hernandez has struggled of late against Texas, Kevin Millwood (2-2, 2.13) hasn't fared well in recent outings versus Seattle.

Millwood is 7-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 18 career starts against the Mariners, but 0-5 with a 6.07 ERA since beating them on July 23, 2007.

The right-hander, though, pitched well in the first month of the season. He allowed two earned runs and 10 hits in eight innings of a 5-4 win over Oakland on Tuesday. His 38 innings pitched are among the most in the majors.

Jose Lopez, a lifetime .308 hitter versus Millwood, blooped an RBI single in the 15th inning to give Seattle an 8-7 home win over Oakland on Sunday.

Ichiro Suzuki's two-out single in 13th capped a three-run comeback for the Mariners, who took two of three in the series after winning the finale that lasted 5 hours, 2 minutes. Kenji Johjima's homer in the ninth sent the game to extra innings.

"It shows the character of this club," first-year Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Suzuki is batting .431 (25-for-58) with seven RBIs against Millwood.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 4, 2009

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