May 23, 2014 ISN – SEATTLE — “The King” is officially rolling.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez won his third consecutive start by giving up one run and five hits in eight innings,Willie Bloomquist hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs, and Seattle beat the Astros, 6-1, in front of 21,192 fans Friday night at Safeco Field.
Hernandez struck out nine and walked just one, improving to 6-1 on the season while lowering his ERA to 2.75.
His night ended in celebration when he induced Dexter Fowler into a 1-6-3 double play to finish the eighth. Walking off the mound, Hernandez let out a primal yell and smacked his glove with his free hand. It was his night.
It doesn’t take much to give the 28-year-old right-hander a comfortable cushion, but the Mariners managed to provide one in the sixth inning.
With one out, nobody on and Seattle leading, 3-1, catcher Mike Zunino launched an 0-1 pitch from Houston rookie Rudy Owens off the top of the right-field fence. Second-base umpire Tom Hallion signaled the ball in play when it caromed back to right fielder Alex Presley as Zunino cruised into second.
After a short conversation with manager Lloyd McClendon and a 33-second instant-replay review, the umpires confirmed that the ball hadn’t cleared the fence. Zunino was ordered to stay at second.
But on the next pitch, Bloomquist broke a string of 626 consecutive at-bats without a home run when he launched a towering two-run shot just over the “331” sign in the left-field corner, giving the Mariners a 5-1 lead. They tacked in the seventh when Kyle Seager delivered an RBI single.
In the first inning, the Mariners did all their damage with two outs. Robinson Cano started by notching a single to right, then Justin Smoak followed with a double to left to put runners on second and third. Seager then added a two-run single to center to stake Hernandez an early lead.
The Astros got one back in the third when Jose Altuve delivered a one-out single back through the box, but that was about all their offense could muster on a night when “The King” reigned.
With the win, the Mariners improved to 24-23 overall and 2-0 on their season-high 11-game homestand.