Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on July 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez pitched eight strong innings and the Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game set at Safeco Field.
Hernandez (11-2) allowed six hits, a pair of runs and two walks with nine strikeouts. His franchise-record of starts with at least seven innings pitched and two earned runs or less allowed now stands at 11 straight games.
The right-hander also set the Mariners club record for lowest ERA at the All- Star break. Hernandez has a minuscule 2.12 ERA throughout the first half this season, topping Randy Johnson's 2.20 mark in 1997.
Robinson Cano went 2-for-3 and drove in the game-winning RBI in the sixth, while Logan Morrison added a solo homer and Endy Chavez knocked in a run for the M's, who snapped their three-game losing streak.
"It was a good win, any win is good," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.
Jeff Samardzija (1-1), making his second start for the Athletics, surrendered three runs on five hits with five strikeouts over eight innings.
Stephen Vogt homered and Jed Lowrie drove in a run for the A's, who had won seven of eight coming in.
With two outs in the sixth, James Jones doubled to left before Cano flicked a double of his own to left that gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead.
"We hit a lot of balls hard that didn't find holes so it was nice to see one fall in," McClendon said of Cano's hit.
Hernandez continued to roll through the Oakland lineup and handed it over to Fernando Rodney in the ninth. Rodney got Lowrie to pop out for the first out in the inning, then walked Derek Norris.
Norris moved up to second on a wild pitch and raced over to third on pinch- hitter Yoenis Cespedes' lineout to right.
Nick Punto watched a questionable 3-2 fastball across the knees go over for a strike to end the game. Punto emphatically slammed his helmet down in disgust before he and manager Bob Melvin were ejected by homeplate umpire James Hoye.
Earlier, Vogt turned on an 0-2 changeup and drove it over the wall in right to open the scoring in the first inning.
Josh Donaldson followed with a single, moved to second on Brandon Moss' groundout and scored on Lowrie's base hit to center to give Oakland a 2-0 lead.
Seattle scored a run in both the second and third innings to tie the game.
Morrison led off the second with a solo blast to right center and Endy Chavez poked a sacrifice fly to center an inning later that scored Brad Miller.
Hernandez entered the game with a 17-7 record and a 2.64 ERA in 32 career starts versus the A's ... Oakland had six hits and went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position ... Seattle went 1-for-3 with RISP.