SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings and Seth Smith belted a decisive homer to give the Mariners a 1-0 win over the Royals, who allowed just one hit, in Friday night's series opener at Safeco Field.
Hernandez evened his record at 2-2 with a 1.38 ERA as he allowed five hits with three walks and four strikeouts, while tying Jamie Moyer for most career wins by a Mariners pitcher with 145.
"Awesome outing by Felix," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "There was really no room for error. He kept us right in the game and really battled the whole night. That's a good team. They can do some things on the bases, put pressure on you and what not. But awesome effort and that's about as much as you can get out of one hit offensively."
Nick Vincent replaced Hernandez with a runner on third and two out in the eighth and retired Lorenzo Cain on a grounder to second. Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his sixth save -- thanks to a wall-slamming catch by center fielder Leonys Martin for the final out -- as the Mariners improved to 12-10.
Royals starter Kris Medlen gave up only one hit in 5 1/3 innings, but that one hit was Smith's solo homer leading off the sixth. Medlen walked four batters in the first two frames, but then retired 10 in a row before Smith's blast. The Royals' four-game skid matches their longest losing streak of last season and they've lost five straight on the road in falling to 12-10.
"He did a nice job," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The first couple of innings, he was off his tempo and his timing, and that's where he got four of the five walks he had, and in the third inning he really settled down, making better pitches. He was ahead better in the count. He had a really good changeup tonight and was using it to his advantage. I thought he pitched great."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Leaving 'em stranded: Hernandez pitched his way out of trouble with runners in scoring position early and often, including leaving runners stranded at third base in the second and third frames. He got some help from shortstop Ketel Marte in the second when Marte caught a blooper by Alex Gordon over his head with a running catch, then turned and fired a bullet to home as Eric Hosmer stayed put at third. Hernandez then struck out Salvador Perez to end that threat and went on to keep the Royals at 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Opposing hitters are 1-for-31 (.032) with RISP against Hernandez on the season. More >
"The feel and situational pitching is about as good as you can do," Servais said. "He's got the weapons to put guys away and strike guys out when he does get a couple strikes on them, but obviously a lot of experience, too. He knows where to go and how to attack hitters in those situations."
Making the one count: Smith delivered the only hit off Medlen with his high-arcing homer leading off the sixth to give Seattle a 1-0 lead. It was Smith's third home run of the season and 100th of his career ... and he's certainly hit longer ones. Statcast™ projected the ball to travel 350 feet from home plate, which was just far enough to clear a leaping Jarrod Dyson at the right-field wall.
"I knew it had a chance," Smith said. "I hit it really high and with some backspin. At that point, you know it's going to be close one way or the other. So you just kind of watch it and you're either really happy when you get to first, or you put your head down and go back to the dugout."
Hosmer keeps hitting: The Royals first baseman hit an infield single in his first at-bat, leading off the second inning, and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 18 games. Hosmer's previous best streak was 16 games in 2014. His 18-game streak is the longest in the Majors this year, two more than Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado accrued from April 4-23. More >
"It's been fun. We show up and get ready to play and go out there and seem to be doing the big things and little things we need to do to win baseball games. It's April, but if we keep doing those things and stay within ourselves, and continue forming as a team, we could do good things." -- Smith, on the Mariners as they've won 10 of their last 14
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (2-0, 2.35 ERA) is scheduled to take the hill on Saturday night against the Mariners at 9:10 p.m. CT. In 18 starts since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha last July 22, Ventura is 11-1 with a 3.03 ERA. He is 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA in his career against Seattle.
Mariners: Lefty Wade Miley (1-2, 7.04) will be on the mound for Saturday's rematch against the Royals at 7:10 p.m. PT. He will be gunning for his second straight win after turning things around in his last start in Anaheim. Miley beat the Royals twice last year while with the Red Sox, allowing just one run in 13 1/3 innings.