HOUSTON – Seattle’s Felix Hernandez was relieved to reach his 100th career win on Monday night against Houston after failing to reach the milestone in three previous attempts.
“Finally,” he said with a huge grin. “It took too long.”
Hernandez pitched six scoreless innings and Seattle homered three times to back him in a 7-1 victory over the Astros.
“Tonight I was like: ‘You’ve got to do it (Monday). You can’t wait more and more time. You’ve just got to go out there and have a good game,’” he said.
Hernandez (2-2) joins Jamie Moyer (145) and Randy Johnson (130) as the only pitchers to reach 100 wins with the Mariners.
He didn’t realize there were only two other players to reach the mark with Seattle and said he was honored to be on the exclusive list.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “I’m really happy for him that he was able to accomplish that at such a young age. He’s accomplished so much so quickly for a young man.”
Hernandez allowed five hits and struck out nine to lower his ERA to 2.08. He came in with the second-lowest run support in the A.L. at 1.88, and didn’t factor into the decision in his last start despite striking out 12 and allowing no earned runs in eight innings.
He had no such trouble Monday night as Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first and tacked on two runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero and Kendrys Morales all homered as the Mariners snapped a three-game losing skid.
“It was a great day offensively and even better to get Felix some runs early so he could settle in and do what he does,” Seager said.
Hernandez, who threw the only perfect game in Mariners history last August, struggled to rank this moment among the many things he’s already done at just 27.
“I might think about it in my room,” he said. “I’ve got 100 and I just feel so happy right now.”
Rick Ankiel hit a solo homer in the seventh inning for the Astros, who dropped to 5-14 – the second-worst start in franchise history, according to STATS. They opened 4-20 in 1969.
“It’s tough,” Houston’s Carlos Pena said of the losses. “We take pride in what we do, and every time we lose it eats away a little piece of us – there’s no doubt about that.”
Houston starter Brad Peacock (1-2) yielded nine hits and seven runs – both season highs – in 41/3 innings. The Astros’ pitching staff has allowed 10 home runs in the last three games.
“When you don’t pitch well you put yourself in a hole against a guy of (Hernandez’s) caliber, fighting an uphill battle,” Houston manager Bo Porter said.
Seattle’s hitters bounced back from a tough weekend where they went 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position and were shut out twice in a three-game sweep by the Rangers.
Seager figured in the Mariners’ first three runs. He singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games and scored on a Justin Smoak single, then launched a two-run homer into the second deck in right field in the third.