- Associated Press - Saturday, April 12, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - Felix Hernandez walked in from the bullpen and threw his first pitch to a standing ovation after warming up with Aloe Blacc’s song “The Man” playing over the stadium speakers.

After 11 strikeouts in seven-plus innings, Seattle’s ace left the mound to the same song and same cheers.

“It was a really good song,” Hernandez said.

King Felix took a shutout into the eighth inning and was backed by homers from Mike Zunino and Brad Miller as the Mariners held on for a 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

Hernandez (3-0) shut down Oakland for the second time in a week, becoming the first Mariners pitcher to win three times in the first nine games of a season.

With the usual “King’s Court” for Hernandez home starts expanded to a “Supreme Court” encompassing the entire stadium with yellow shirts and “K” cards, Hernandez gave up four hits in the 28th double-digit strikeout game of his career.

Hernandez was charged with two runs and walked none. He has 30 strikeouts against two walks in his three starts.

“I have to throw good games. There are a lot of people here,” Hernandez said. “If you throw a bad game it’s not going to be good.”

Hernandez has been exceptionally good to start 2014. He’s allowed five earned runs in his three starts and 14 total hits. He set down the first 10 Oakland batters Friday before Jed Lowrie’s one-out single in the fourth.

Three of Oakland’s four hits off Hernandez came in the span of five batters in the fourth and fifth. Josh Donaldson followed Lowrie’s hit with an infield single, but Hernandez pitched out of the jam with strikeouts of Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes.

Alberto Callaspo doubled to lead off the fifth and advanced to third on Robinson Cano’s two-out error at second base. Hernandez struck out Sam Fuld looking to end the inning.

Hernandez struck out the side in the seventh, but Daric Barton was hit on the foot by a curveball and Eric Sogard singled to open the eighth. That was it for Hernandez.

“I thought his stuff was exceptional tonight,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He had a great mix of all his pitches.”

What should have been a comfortable win became shaky because of Seattle’s bullpen.

Lucas Luetge walked his only batter. Danny Farquhar walked Lowrie on a 3-2 pitch to score Barton. Moss added a broken-bat single off Charlie Furbush for the second run charged to Hernandez, and Cespedes beat out a potential double play to score another. Furbush threw a wild pitch that Fuld scored on to cut the deficit to 6-4, but Callaspo popped out to end the rally.

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