While it might seem they face a difficult challenge against Felix Hernandez, the Texas Rangers have been one of the few teams to give the Seattle Mariners ace a tough time.
The Rangers will try to beat Hernandez for the fourth time this season Wednesday night when they look to sweep this three-game series at Safeco Field.
Ian Kinsler had a season-high four hits and scored the go-ahead run on Danny Farquhar's balk in the 10th inning as the Rangers escaped with a 4-3 victory Tuesday for their 11th win in 13 road games.
"Anytime you win a hard-fought game it adds to the confidence of your club and adds to the toughness of your club," said Kinsler, 9 for 22 at Safeco this year.
Texas (77-55), 2 1/2 games up on Oakland for the AL West lead, is looking to saddle the Mariners (59-72) with a winless six-game homestand.
Hernandez (12-7, 2.63 ERA) already lost once on the homestand despite a strong outing, striking out 10 while allowing two runs and three hits over six innings in Friday's 2-0 defeat to the Angels. That was one of four home losses this season for the right-hander, and two of them came to the Rangers.
The All-Star is 0-3 in four meetings with Texas this season with a 5.55 ERA which is his highest against any opponent he's faced at least twice. The Rangers are batting .327 against him in 2013 with four home runs.
"I can't put a finger on it, because there's games when he's really dominated us," Texas manager Ron Washington said.
That comment came after Hernandez allowed a season-high five walks and five runs over five innings in a 15-3 loss at Arlington on Aug. 17. He's 4-10 with a 4.26 ERA in his last 15 starts against the Rangers.
"They battle a lot and they have a good approach against me," said Hernandez, among the top three in the majors in strikeouts (192) and innings (184 2-3).
David Murphy is 5 for 10 with a homer and two doubles off Hernandez this year while Adrian Beltre has gone 6 for 12. Beltre is batting .404 over a 12-game hitting streak versus Seattle.
Martin Perez (7-3, 3.62) will oppose Hernandez again after allowing three runs in seven-plus innings to win last week's matchup. He's 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts against the Mariners this season.
The left-hander looks to win his career-best fifth straight start after allowing four runs - three in the second inning - over seven frames in an 11-5 win over the White Sox on Friday. He has a 2.70 ERA in his last five outings - all Texas victories.
"(Perez) showed some presence out there," Washington said. "That's a veteran move, the way he gathered himself and got himself through seven innings."
Seattle's Dustin Ackley is 2 for 3 against Perez this season and 15 for 30 over a nine-game hitting streak at Safeco.
The Mariners, however, have totaled eight runs while going 4 for 23 with runners in scoring position during their home skid.
The Associated Press News Service
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