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Smoak homers, Hernandez pitches Mariners to 6-0 win

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez putting up zeroes has become commonplace for the Seattle Mariners through the years, and lately it has become just as predictable to see his team hit a home run.

The Mariners extended their club record of consecutive games with a home run to 21 on Saturday when Justin Smoak took Los Angeles starter Jared Weaver deep for a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Hernandez did the rest, pitching eight scoreless innings to beat the Angels 6-0.

Hernandez (10-4) bounced back from a nightmarish performance in his last start against the Angels -- he gave up five runs in the fifth inning alone while seeing a 7-0 lead turn into a 10-9 loss -- by scattering seven hits in eight innings without allowing a walk before giving way to reliever Yoervis Medina in the ninth.

Hernandez has now won 10 games before the All-Star break for the first time in his nine-year career.

"The first time in my career? That's good," said Hernandez, who heads into his fifth All-Star appearance having allowed two runs or fewer in each of his four starts since the June 20 disaster in Anaheim. "The offense came through, scored some runs, and we won the game."

The Mariners led 1-0 when a two-out rally in the sixth chased Weaver from the game. Smoak, who drove in Seattle's first run in the fourth, followed back-to-back, two-out singles by Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager with a three-run homer to dead center field, giving Seattle a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth.

The Mariners (42-52) are the first American League team in almost 11 years to homer in 21 consecutive games. The 2002 Milwaukee Brewers went deep in 27 straight games in September of that year, establishing a major league record that still stands.

"Guys are hitting the ball hard all over the park," Smoak said. "If we keep doing that, good things are going to happen."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the home run streak is a pretty good indication of how far this offense has come.

"Everybody's been busting our chops about offense over the years -- and rightfully so," he said. "But give these guys credit. This team's been here 35, 36 years, and we've had a lot of good players here. To have done something nobody else has done, it's significant."

Weaver (3-5) gave up nine hits and four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, ending his two-game winning streak that saw him give up just one run in two starts and 13 2/3 innings.

Seattle added two runs off the Los Angeles bullpen in the seventh when Smoak left the bases loaded with an inning-ending flyout to right field.

Los Angeles (44-48) has lost back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23, which is also the same week the Angels last dropped a series before Seattle opened the current three-game set with two wins. The Angels had not been shut out since June 1 and have now been held scoreless by the Mariners twice this season.

Los Angeles has been outscored 14-3 during the first two games of this series.

"On this road trip, outside of (a 13-2 win over the Cubs), we've had trouble putting at-bats together," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Seattle's done a good job the first two games of this series. We're going to do a better job of pressuring them (Sunday)."

NOTES: Seager extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his fourth-inning single. ... The Angels' Mike Trout went 1 for 4 with a triple and is now hitting .441 (15-for-34) with two doubles, two triples and a home run in his career against Hernandez. ... Angels LF J.B. Shuck got his 15th start in the leadoff role, and the Angels are now 11-4 when he hits leadoff. ... Mariners RHP Stephen Pryor threw his second simulated game in less than a week on Saturday and Wedge said he might be ready for a rehab stint at Class A Everett during the All-Star break. Pryor has been out since April 14 with a torn lat muscle.
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