Felix, M's rock Detroit
SEATTLE (AP) - Felix Hernandez returned home and showed why Seattle recently gave him $78 million, and the Mariners' usually quiet bats made their most noise in eight months in an 11-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Hernandez (1-0) struck out nine - Seattle's season high - while allowing just four hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his home debut.
"Yep, everything was working today. It was great," King Felix said, with a grin.
Franklin Gutierrez had three hits and three RBIs, and Jose Lopez drove in two as the Mariners improved to 28-9 with King Felix starting since the beginning of 2009. Last season's runner-up for the Cy Young Award turned 24 a week ago.
Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) flopped in his second start after missing most of the last year and a half because of a blood clot in his pitching shoulder. The resident of Pasco, Wash., allowed 10 runs - eight earned - on nine hits and four walks in four-plus innings.
It was the most runs Bonderman had allowed since July 29, 2007, when the Angels scored 11 off him.
Seattle's lineup started the day with only two players batting above .250 - Gutierrez and Lopez. It ended it with the Mariners' most runs in a game since last Aug. 9 against Tampa Bay. They tied their season high with 12 hits, including 11 singles.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before the game he wanted his hitters to "grind out" at-bats against Hernandez, to remember the talk Hall of Famer Al Kaline gave them in spring training.
Instead, Hernandez - who had allowed five earned runs total in his first two starts but got no decisions - ground down the Tigers with a fastball that reached 97 mph late, plus a sharply sinking one in the 88-89 mph range that got him the majority of his strikeouts.
He looked and pitched like a man recently minted with a $78 million, five-year contract. When he left with two on in the seventh, he playfully smirked at manager Don Wakamatsu for removing him, then tipped his cap to acknowledge the standing ovation of 39,999 fans.