Felix notches 2,000th career strikeout

Seattle ace becomes 4th-youngest to reach mark

Felix notches 2,000th career strikeout

SEATTLE -- Lloyd McClendon knows he's watching something special when Felix Hernandez takes the mound. After years of watching him from the opposite dugout, the second-year Seattle skipper is even more impressed from what he's seen up close.

Hernandez gave McClendon a chance to see history Sunday afternoon, as he recorded his 2,000th career strikeout after fanning Oakland's Sam Fuld looking in the fifth inning.

"From afar, when I was on the other side, I knew he was good, but I didn't know he was this great of a competitor," McClendon said. "Even a better teammate, so the accolades just keep coming and coming with this guy.

"He's a delight to watch every fifth day and I think we're all blessed. I'm not sure if everybody realizes what he's actually doing, but this guy's real, real good."

Felix's road to 2,000

The crowd at Safeco Field gave Hernandez a standing ovation as he tossed the baseball to the dugout to keep as a souvenir and then walked around the mound. He finished with six strikeouts in seven innings in the Mariners' 4-3 win to improve to 6-0.

Hernandez, at 29 years and 32 days, is the fourth-youngest to reach the milestone. Only Bert Blyleven, Sam McDowell and Walter Johnson reached 2,000 at a younger age. Hernandez was also the fourth-youngest to reach 1,000 strikeouts when he accomplished the feat on Aug. 25, 2010.

"It's a pretty special moment," said Hernandez, who claimed he was thinking only of getting the win, not reaching the milestone. "I'm so happy."

Hernandez's eight strikeouts on May 4 against the Angels pushed him past Johan Santana's 1,988 strikeouts to give him the most by a Venezuelan-born pitcher.

Josh Liebeskind is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.