Atlanta Braves (58-54) at Seattle Mariners (57-54), 10:10 p.m. (ET)
08/05/2014 10:44 AM
08/05/2014 10:50 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez targets his 12th win of the season when the Atlanta Braves visit Safeco Field Tuesday in the opener of a brief two-game series.
Hernandez has won at least 12 games in each of the past five seasons and seven times in his career, and is 11-3 with an AL-best 2.01 earned run average. Hernandez is coming off 2-0 a loss at Cleveland last Wednesday and gave up both runs in seven innings of work with five strikeouts and two walks. He is second in the major leagues with 178 K's.
The All-Star right-hander set an MLB record with his 14th straight start of seven or more innings with two runs or fewer allowed, going 7-2 with a 1.44 ERA and five no-decisions in that impressive stretch.
Hernandez is 7-2 in 11 starts at Safeco Field this season and will face Atlanta for the second time in his career. In a 5-3 loss to the Braves in the Emerald City back on June 29, 2011, Hernandez permitted all five runs and 10 hits across 7 2/3 innings.
Since June 17, 2012, King Felix is 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in seven starts against the Nationals League. He is 16-7 lifetime in 31 interleague starts.
Seattle could use another strong start from its ace and has alternated results over the past nine contests. The club dropped two of three matchups in Baltimore this weekend and sustained a 1-0 setback in Sunday's rubber match, as Nick Markakis led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run.
Hisashi Iwakuma was dealt the loss in the start for the Mariners and lasted 7 2/3 innings, scattering five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Iwakuma has gone at least seven innings in six straight starts.
"We've played them seven games and I thought we played them pretty good," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said.
The Mariners lost for the eighth time in 12 tries and sit two games back for one of the two wild card spots. They will also host the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays on this homestand.
Meanwhile, an eight-game road trip hasn't treated the Braves so kindly and they have lost the first six tests on the sojourn.
The Braves have suffered sweeps in Los Angeles and San Diego, and suffered another extra-inning defeat in Sunday's 4-3 decision in 10 innings against the Padres at Petco Park. Everth Cabrera had an RBI single in the 10th inning off Atlanta reliever David Hale to lift San Diego to victory.
Jason Heyward had three hits, two runs scored and drove in a run, while Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang tossed six innings of two-run ball in Atlanta's sixth consecutive loss.
"I know what this team is capable of. I know what this offense is capable of. It's just getting hits. When we're in the middle of the lineup getting one hit or zero hits, we can't keep the line moving. We're not going to score very many runs," said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Justin Upton was 0-for-3 with a run scored and is still three hits shy of 1,000 and four RBI away from 500 in his career.
Atlanta is three games behind Washington for the NL East lead and two games off one of the two wild card spots.
Hoping to snap the Braves' losing streak Tuesday will be left-hander Alex Wood, who is 7-8 with a 3.30 ERA. Wood is 1-2 in his last three decisions and did not factor in the outcome of a 3-2 loss against the Dodgers last Wednesday. He pitched well to the tune of one run and eight K's in seven innings of work, but the Braves fell to 1-4 in his last five outings.
Wood faced Seattle once before in relief and is 3-3 in 13 games (7 starts) as the visitor this season.
The Mariners won both games in Atlanta in early June, but were swept by the Braves in three games at Safeco Field in 2011.
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