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King Felix squares off with Darvish in Texas
(SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle ace Felix Hernandez goes after a fourth straight win on Wednesday when the Mariners continue a four-game series with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.
Hernandez has been magnificent this season for the Mariners, going 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA, while striking out 30 batters in 21 1/3 innings. His latest win came on Friday against Oakland, as he surrendered a pair of runs in seven innings and also fanned 11 batters for the second time this season.
"I thought his stuff was exceptional," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He had a great mix of all his pitches."
With another win on Wednesday Hernandez would become the first Mariners starter to win four straight starts to open a year since Bob Wells went 5-0 in 1996.
No team, though, has given Hernandez more trouble than the Rangers. He was 0-4 with a 7.57 ERA against them last year and just 12-20 lifetime with a 4.18 ERA in 39 starts.
"Throwing against Texas pumps me up a little bit, yeah," Hernandez said. "They've got me a couple times. I've got to do better."
The 20 losses are the most ever by a pitcher against the Rangers since they moved to Arlington in 1972.
As good as King Felix has been, though, Texas righty Yu Darvish has been even better. Darvish started the year on the disabled list, but has been dominant in two starts since returning, while having not allowed a run in 15 innings.
After tossing seven scoreless innings in his season debut, the Japanese hurler nearly no-hit the Houston Astros on Friday, as he gave up just one hit and struck out nine in eight innings of work. Remarkably, though, he did not get a decision in his team's 1-0 triumph.
"I was only focused on not giving up runs, so it really didn't matter to me," the two-time All-Star right-hander said through an interpreter of his chance at a perfect game. "It's sheer luck, but if I could pitch like this in every game, it would be very nice."
Darvish is 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in seven career starts against the Rangers, including 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA against them in three starts last year.
On Tuesday, Kevin Kouzmanoff went 3-for-4 with three RBI, and Robbie Ross threw 7 2/3 strong innings to help Texas to a 5-0 win.
Prince Fielder and Kouzmanoff each belted their first home runs as Rangers when they went back-to-back off Seattle starter Blake Beavan (0-1) in the second inning. Kouzmanoff, playing for the injured Adrian Beltre, added a two- out, two-run double in the eighth before scoring on Mitch Moreland's single.
Ross (1-0) limited the Mariners to five singles to pick up his first career win as a starter and help Texas rebound from a loss in Monday's opener.
"It's funny because I'm just trying to go out there and do the best I can to keep it close because I know we're going to start scoring," Ross said.
Seattle was shut out for the third time in six games.
"Probably the first night where I was probably a little disappointed in our approach a little bit," McClendon said.
Texas went 12-7 against the M's last year.
04/16 11:38:36 ET
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