SEATTLE – One hit and one run. It was enough Friday night for Felix Hernandez, with an assist from the Mariners’ bullpen, in a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Safeco Field.
Seth Smith provided the game’s only run – and the Mariners’ only hit – with a leadoff homer in the sixth inning against Kansas City starter Kris Medlen.
Hernandez (2-2) made it stand up for 7 2/3 innings. Nick Vincent got the final out in the eighth inning before Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six opportunities.
Kansas City didn’t go quietly in the ninth.
Eric Hosmer led off with a single on a grounder up the middle and stole second when Kendrys Morales swung through a full-count breaking ball.
Cishek then struck out Alex Gordon before center fielder Leonys Martin ended the game by running down Salvy Perez’s deep fly at the wall.
Martin held the ball despite crashing into the wall and tumbling to the ground.
The Mariners didn’t have a hit against Medlen (1-2) until Smith led off the sixth inning with a drive to right that clawed its way over the wall for a homer.
Smith pulled a 1-0 change-up just beyond a leaping attempt by right fielder Jarrod Dyson at the wall. Dyson then ran down a hooking drive by Robinson Cano but, when Medlen walked Nelson Cruz, the Royals went to the bullpen.
Danny Duffy retired the next two batters.
Hernandez carried that 1-0 lead into the eighth inning, but Alcides Escobar punched a one-out single to left and went to third on Mike Moustakas’ fly to deep right.
That was Hernandez’s 115th pitch, and it prompted a move to the bullpen for Vincent to face Lorenzo Cain, who had hits in his two previous at-bats against Hernandez.
Vincent retired Cain on a grounder to second.
The Mariners got an early opportunity when Medlen walked the first two batters in the first inning. It came to nothing. Cano flied out before Cruz and Adam Lind grounded out.
Hernandez pitched out of jam of his own making in the second inning after Eric Hosmer wound up on second with no outs after a squib single and a Hernandez throwing error.
Medlen walked two more batters in the second but, again, the Mariners couldn’t cash in the opportunity.
Hernandez worked around two singles in the fourth by getting Alex Gordon to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.