SEATTLE--Felix Hernandez was back to his King-like form against the Houston Astros, and the Seattle Mariners are back above .500.
Hernandez, roughed up in his last home start against the lowly Astros, allowed one run on five hits in eight innings, and Willie Bloomquist flashed some rare pop to power the Mariners to a 6-1 victory Friday night before a crowd of 21,192 at Safeco Field.
Bloomquist hit his first home run in nearly three years, and Kyle Seager also drove in three runs as the Mariners (24-23) moved one game above .500.
Hernandez (6-1) struck out nine and walked one on 102 pitches.
The Mariners had in both of Hernandez's previous starts against Houston this season. He allowed six runs (two earned) on seven hits in a 7-2 defeat against the Astros at home on April 21. The Mariners then lost 5-4 at Houston on May 2, when Hernandez lasted just five innings (allowing three runs, two earned) while battling the flu.
Rudy Owens, a 26-year-old left-hander who was 2-3 with a 6.05 ERA for the Oklahoma City RedHawks this season, made his major-league debut for the Astros on Friday after right-hander Brad Peacock (forearm soreness) was a late scratch.
Owens allowed five runs on nine hits in 52/3 innings.
In the sixth inning, Bloomquist hit a two-run homer off Owens just fair and just over the wall in left. That extended the Mariners' lead to 5-1.
It was Bloomquist's first home run since Aug. 10, 2011 -- also against the Astros--when he was with Arizona. He had gone 663 plate appearances between homers.
In the first inning, Robinson Cano singled with two outs and Justin Smoak followed with a first-pitch double off the left-field wall, snapping his 0-for-11 skid. Seager then delivered a single to center on a 3-2 pitch to score both runners.
In the fourth, Cole Gillespie walked and advanced to third on Mike Zunino's hit-and-run single. Bloomquist drove in Gillespie with a sacrifice fly to right, pushing the lead to 3-1.
With the Mariners leading 5-1, Seager blooped a single to center to score Smoak in the seventh inning, extending the lead to 6-1.
The Astros scored their lone run on Jose Altuve's run-scoring single in the third. Altuve had three hits and is hitting .500 for his career (8 for 16) against the Mariners ace.
Altuve's final hit of the night was a sharp single off Hernandez's leg in the eighth inning. After a quick check from a trainer, Hernandez stayed in the game. He started a 1-6-3 double play off the bat off Dexter Fowler, then let out a primal yell in celebration as he walked toward the dugout, his night complete.
Charlie Furbush and Danny Farquhar finished it off for the Mariners in the ninth inning.
(c)2014 The Seattle Times
Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services