ANAHEIM -- Felix Hernandez and Mike Trout have had some epic battles over the years in the American League West and the two stars resumed that rivalry in grand fashion with a 14-pitch at-bat that ended with Trout striking out in the first inning of Saturday's 5-4 victory by the Angels over the Mariners.
"We have good battles," said Trout, who came back later to hit the game-winning two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Evan Scribner. "He's one of the best in the league, so it's always fun facing him. It's always a tough battle, though, for everybody. We know going in he's got a bunch of stuff he can get you out with."
Trout has fared well against the six-time All-Star, racking up seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 79 at-bats while hitting .367 even after Saturday's 0-for-3. But Hernandez has done his damage as well, now with 26 strikeouts against the two-time AL MVP.
The seven home runs by Trout are his highest total against any single pitcher, and they are also the most homers Hernandez has allowed by any batter.
Saturday's initial duel was a dandy, with Trout fouling off nine pitches before Hernandez caught him looking at a 92 mph four-seam fastball on the inside corner for strike three.
"We threw everything at least twice," said catcher Mike Zunino. "Felix came back and made a great pitch, a heater in that was able to cut the corner. That's sort of the battle they always have. It was good to see Felix win that one and set the tone."
The 14-pitch at-bat was the longest in Hernandez's 13-year career and came on his 31st birthday. Hernandez needed just three pitches to retire the first two batters in the inning.
It was also the longest at-bat in Trout's career and the longest by an Angel since an 18-pitch at-bat by Adam Kennedy in 2004.
Hernandez took just four pitches to strike out Trout in their second showdown in the third, getting the Angels' standout swinging at a nasty 82 mph curve after he'd fouled off a fastball and changeup, then retired him on a groundout to second in the fifth.
Hernandez took his second loss of the season by allowing three runs on 10 hits over six innings, though his lengthy Trout out was memorable to all.
"It was a great battle and to Felix's credit, he didn't back down at all," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "He kept making quality pitch after quality pitch. Those are two of the better guys in the game going at it.
"Felix probably didn't have quite as good of stuff tonight as his first time out. But to his credit, he hung in there and gave us a chance to win. He gave us six pretty good innings. We were right there, just made a mistake right at the end."
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.