ARLINGTON -- Despite allowing just one hit in six innings, Mariners ace Felix Hernandez suffered the first Opening Day loss of his career in a 3-2 setback to the Rangers on Monday at Globe Life Park.
Hernandez is 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA in nine Opening Day outings, and the lone loss came courtesy of a rough fifth inning against the Rangers when two unearned runs -- following errors on third baseman Kyle Seager and shortstop Ketel Marte -- and three walks in the same frame led to all of the Rangers' runs. The right-hander became the first Opening Day starter in the past 100 years to lose while allowing one hit or fewer in six or more innings pitched.
Hernandez shouldered the blame, noting his five walks on the game were costly. The 29-year-old also hit a batter and needed 93 pitches to get through six frames.
"That's not good. That's not me," he said. "I would say I was wild. But when I got in trouble, I made good pitches."
His teammates knew they didn't help, however, after staking him to a 2-0 lead.
"He gave up one hit," said Seager. "If Felix is pitching and he gives up one hit, we should win that game. He was fine, but we needed to make plays behind him."
Seager made the first miscue in the fifth when he tried to field a chopper to his left as Rougned Odor raced toward third and the ball glanced off the end of his glove, putting runners at first and third with no outs. Hernandez then issued back-to-back walks to force across the first run.
Prince Fielder blooped in the lone hit of the day by the Rangers, a flare to shallow left that fell in against the shifted defense to tie the game. And Marte booted a grounder by Adrian Beltre to allow the go-ahead run to score before Hernandez struck out the final two batters and left the bases loaded.
But the Mariners couldn't overcome that one-run deficit on a day they managed just four hits of their own as the Rangers snapped Seattle's nine-year Opening Day win streak and spoiled the managerial debut of Scott Servais.
"That's a tough one to start with, no doubt," Servais said. "We just had the one bad inning. Felix kind of lost command a little bit and we didn't make all the plays behind him. It happens, unfortunately. Other than that, I thought we played a good ballgame. Our pitching was outstanding all day."
Hernandez said he needs to correct some mechanical issues, but felt he finally found his rhythm with the two strikeouts to end the fifth and then a perfect sixth.
"It was Opening Day," Hernandez said. "It's fun here. It's loud. It's a good park to pitch. But I just have to find myself, my mechanics, and just get back out there."
Beltre, his good friend and former teammate, said Hernandez pitched well, but he did notice a different approach.
"He's a tough competitor," Beltre said. "We know he's going to give everything he has every time out, even though he changed a little bit. He was throwing more breaking balls than before."
Said Hernandez: "I was trying to find my mechanics and make good pitches. It's definitely correctible. I'm just getting ready for the next one."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.