Felix Hernandez struck out 10 and allowed only two hits over seven innings, Seth Smith had three extra-base hits and two RBIs in his Seattle debut and the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 on Monday.
Hernandez (1-0) improved to 6-0 in opening day starts, only two of them at home. Taking the mound before a sellout crowd waving yellow ”K” towels in his honor, he lifted Seattle to its ninth straight win on opening day.
Mike Trout hit a solo homer in the first inning and Erick Aybar singled leading off the fifth. That was all the Angels could do against Hernandez.
Smith was the offensive star. Acquired in an offseason trade with San Diego, Smith doubled twice and lined a two-out RBI triple to score Austin Jackson with Seattle’s first run of the season. All three hits came off Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver (0-1).
Smith became the first player in Mariners history to have three extra-base hits on opening day. Dustin Ackley added a solo home run and Robinson Cano had an RBI single as Seattle’s season of high expectations got off to a rousing start.
Hernandez struck out at least 10 batters for the third time on opening day. He struck out 12 in 2007 against Oakland and 11 last year against the Angels.
Hernandez is just the fourth pitcher dating to 1914 with at least three opening day starts of 10 or more strikeouts, joining Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Bob Gibson.
Carson Smith struck out Trout with two runners on to end the eighth and Fernando Rodney pitched an uneventful ninth for his first save.