SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez doesn't have a lot in common with Jamie Moyer, given his changeup is about seven miles per hour faster than Moyer's best fastballs back in the day. But Hernandez has learned over the years to pitch with the same kind of guile as Moyer, and those skills helped him move past Moyer to become the Mariners' winningest pitcher in franchise history on Monday.
Hernandez threw seven innings of two-run ball in Seattle's 5-2 win over the Rays, giving him 146 career victories, one more than Moyer achieved in his time with the Mariners from 1996-2006.
"It's pretty cool," Hernandez said. "I played with Jamie. To be up there with him is phenomenal."
Hernandez was more worried about beating the Rays on this night, helping his team improve to 19-13 and maintain its early lead in the American League West. But he does appreciate the big picture. And yeah, he said with a smile, he still throws harder than Moyer did.
"For sure," Hernandez said. "He had a pretty good career throwing 82 though."
Hernandez's fastball was a couple ticks higher than earlier in the season on Monday as he was hitting 91-92 mph for much of the night. He said he felt strong, crediting the Rays with hitting two pretty good pitches for solo home runs to account for their only scoring.
Hernandez no longer relies on the high heat, but he knows how to pitch and he remains one of the game's premier right-handers as he improved to 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA while allowing just four hits over seven innings.
"He's got great feel," manager Scott Servais said. "He can really manipulate the ball with the slider, the curveball and the great changeup that has developed here in the last few years. He's still a very, very effective pitcher in our league without the dominating 95-96 mph fastball that he had early in his career. It says a lot about him. I love it when he's out there. He really does compete as good as anybody."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. 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.