Felix Hernandez followed up the best outing of his brief career with a shaky one.
Hernandez (11-13, 4.70 ERA) fired a five-hitter for his first career shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 28. But last Sunday, he gave up seven runs and 10 hits—including three homers—over 7 2-3 innings in a 7-6 loss at Tampa Bay.
“Felix made three bad pitches, and all three of them ended up in the seats,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
The Mariners want to limit Hernandez’s innings for the remainder of this year, and he will skip a turn in the rotation after this outing. He’s logged 168 1-3 innings, second on the team behind Jarrod Washburn’s 180 1-3.
Hernandez is 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in three starts against Texas (72-71) this season.
The rookie right-hander, though, has had trouble facing Rangers center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., who is 4-for-8 with seven RBIs against him this year.
Seattle (68-73) won 3-2 on Saturday on Jose Lopez’s one-out bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 13th inning for its fourth win in a row.
Lopez’s game-winner was set up by three walks issued by Texas relievers to load the bases.
“We got some good innings out of a young bullpen, but we just needed more hits,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said.
The Mariners haven’t swept a three-game home series against the Rangers since June 4-6, 2001.
Seattle would have won the game without having to go to extra innings had closer J.J. Putz held onto a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning. Putz recorded the first two outs, but blew his sixth save when Matthews tied it with a solo homer.
“He got beat throwing a 98 mile-per-hour fastball,” Hargrove said. “I’ll take that but I don’t like to see it happen.”
The Rangers lost their third straight and fell to 8-4 against the Mariners this season.
Adam Eaton (5-4, 4.93), a native of nearby Snohomish, Wash., and will start Sunday in front of approximately 40 friends and family. He went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two career interleague starts at Seattle while pitching for San Diego.
“That will be nice for him—to have that many people here to watch him pitch,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
Eaton seeks his third straight victory after winning at Oakland on Tuesday, giving up four runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 5-4 victory.
The right-hander is trying to beat the Mariners for a second time this season after allowing two runs and four hits over six innings in an 8-2 victory on Aug. 10.
Seattle’s Richie Sexson is 5-for-12 with two homers and eight RBIs in his career against Eaton.