Although Seattle's longest road winning streak of the season just ended, Felix Hernandez remains pleased with how things are trending for both him and the Mariners.
Coming off an award-winning June, the right-hander looks to continue his team-record stretch Saturday when the Mariners try to bounce back against the Chicago White Sox.
Seattle (47-39) entered its three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field with a four-game winning streak and a six-game run away from home before Chris Sale led the White Sox to a 7-1 victory Friday.
Still, the Mariners have gone 13-5 since June 15 and haven't dropped consecutive contests since June 18-19 at San Diego. They should be feeling confident about getting back on track with Hernandez (10-2, 2.10 ERA) taking the mound.
The four-time All-Star was 3-1 with a 1.22 ERA in six starts last month. He had 54 strikeouts and six walks in 44 1-3 innings over that span to earn his fourth AL Pitcher of the Month award and first since August 2012.
"I'm happy," Hernandez told MLB's official website. "That means I'm pitching pretty good, right?"
Hernandez has actually been much better than that, going 6-1 with a 1.30 ERA in his past nine starts to set a franchise record for consecutive outings of at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or less.
Making matters worse for the White Sox (41-46), he's coming off his best performance of the season after allowing one hit with nine strikeouts over eight innings in a 3-0 home win over Cleveland.
"Pretty good, but I've got to keep going," the 2010 AL Cy Young winner said.
Hernandez does have room to improve at U.S. Cellular Field, where he's posted a 6.50 ERA while giving up six home runs in his last three starts there. By comparison, he's only given up four homers in 18 starts this season.
Chicago has scored four runs or more six times with 12 homers while winning five of its last seven. Dayan Viciedo matched a career high with four hits and a home run and Jose Abreu hit his MLB-leading 27th homer in the opener.
The Cuban first baseman, who has never faced Hernandez, is batting .338 with eight homers and 18 RBIs during a season-best 18-game hitting streak.
"I wasn't even aware of (the streak) until my dad told me," the AL Rookie of the Month said through a translator. "He was like, 'You are getting hits.' I'm trying to do something to help every day, whether it's an RBI, playing defensively."
Since allowing 10 runs over 10 1-3 innings in consecutive outings, Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.44) has given up three runs with 21 strikeouts over 21 innings in his last three. He allowed three hits over seven innings in Sunday's 4-0 win at Toronto.
The left-hander, however, hasn't fared as well in his two career home starts against the Mariners, surrendering nine runs - eight earned - and 13 hits over 9 2-3 innings.
Kyle Seager has a home run and three RBIs in four career at-bats against Quintana, and he's 20 for 40 with three homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games overall. Robinson Cano is 8 for 20 with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last five.
Corey Hart went 0 for 3 with an RBI in his first start since straining his left hamstring in May.