SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin had a three-run home run, part of the leadoff man’s career-high four RBIs, and the Texas Rangers pounded Seattle Mariners’ All-Star ace Felix Hernandez for nine runs in a 12-4 runaway win Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field.
Eight of the Rangers’ runs off Hernandez were earned, a career-high for the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner. Eleven of the Rangers’ 17 hits came in the first three-plus innings.
Martin Perez (8-3) allowed five hits and two runs in six innings to set Rangers rookie pitching records with his fifth victory this month and his fifth consecutive start with a win. Relievers Robbie Ross and Ross Wolf completed this three-game sweep. It ended a 4-2 trip for Texas that began with the Chicago White Sox.
Keeping up: The easy win put the Rangers, for now, three games ahead of Oakland atop the American League West heading into their Thursday off day and weekend home series against the Minnesota Twins. The A’s were playing at Detroit later Wednesday.
He’s more than fine: Martin’s huge day came in his second game back from an ankle injury that sidelined him Sunday and Monday. He sent Hernandez’s split-fingered fastball (which stayed high in the strike zone) onto the roof of Seattle’s bullpen far beyond left-center field in the second inning for his seventh home run.
Geovany Soto added a two-run single off Hernandez (12-8) in the third. Elvis Andrus had a two-run double, and Ian Kinsler singled him home to make it 8-0 in the fourth and chase the not-so-King-like Hernandez.
Mitch Moreland added his 20th home run to lead off the seventh.
Checkmate: Hernandez is now 0-4 against the Rangers this season, and his 20 career losses against Texas are his most against any opponent.
The eight earned runs were the most Hernandez had allowed in any of his previous 266 major league starts dating to his 2005 debut with the Mariners. The nine total runs is one off his career high from May 16, 2006, at Oakland.
Hernandez lasted just 78 pitches, the fewest he’s thrown in any of his 28 starts this season. As he left, he tossed his gum into the dirt in front of the dugout, his glove into the corner of the dugout and his cap dismissively onto the bench.
Up next: Yu Darvish (12-5, 2.68 ERA), the major leagues strikeout leader with 225, begins the Rangers’ brief, three-game homestand Friday night against Minnesota right-hander Liam Hendriks (0-2, 6.20 ERA). Darvish is 7-3 in 14 home starts this season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT on Channel 21 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.