Not at his best, Felix finds way to 13th win

Mariners ace allows four runs in 6 2/3 frames and strikes out nine

Not at his best, Felix finds way to 13th win

DENVER -- There will be some who look at the 11 hits surrendered by Felix Hernandez on Monday and wonder what's up with the Mariners' ace. But don't count Lloyd McClendon in that group.

The Mariners skipper was plenty pleased with how Hernandez survived his first career outing at Coors Field, allowing four runs over 6 2/3 innings as Seattle held on for an 8-7 victory.

"In this ballpark, I thought he was great," McClendon said. "Your stuff just doesn't snap as well. I thought he snapped off some pretty good curveballs at times. His changeup was pretty good. He didn't have a lot of sink on the fastball because balls just don't sink like they should here, but he was in and out and he did a real nice job for us."

On the heels of a season-high 12 hits allowed in an 8-2 loss to the D-backs last week, it was the first time Hernandez has allowed double-digit hits in back-to-back outings since Sept. 7-13, 2012 when he gave up 11 to the A's and 10 to the Blue Jays in a pair of losses.

So, no, the King wasn't quite going along with his manager on grading his effort.

"You know me, I'm not happy," Hernandez said. "The most important thing is we won, but I'm not happy with that performance."

But unlike his last loss to the D-backs, this time Hernandez limited the damage to four runs and received plenty of help on a night the Mariners crunched three homers at the hitter-happy park. Hernandez is now 10-0 in games when he's received three-plus runs of support this season.

He's 8-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 12 starts following a loss since the beginning of last season.

"He's done that time and time again for us, when we've needed a big win, particularly when he's come off a tough start," McClendon said. "He's more determined than ever. And tonight he showed just how good he is."

The win elevates Hernandez's record to 13-6 with a 3.13 ERA, tying him with Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh of the Astros for the most victories in the American League.

Hernandez said his first experience at Coors was something of an eye-opener.

"It was a little different," he said. "High altitude, you get tired real quick, but I was fine. I had good stuff. I had a good fastball. I think I was up in the zone a little bit and that's why they hit a lot of those. But I was able to make pitches when I needed to."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.