Felix Hernandez helps Mariners finish sweep of Royals

SEATTLE -- Even a line drive that left the lower part of Felix Hernandez's left hand bruised and swollen couldn't knock out the Seattle Mariners' ace.

Good thing, since the Mariners' relievers did their best to try and blow a shot at Seattle's first four-game sweep at home in more than a decade.

Hernandez shook off a line drive to his left wrist and threw seven strong innings, and the Mariners overcame bullpen problems to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 Sunday for a four-game sweep.

Seattle swept Kansas City in a four-game set for the first time since May 2001 and was the first time the Mariners recorded a four-game sweep at home since early in the 2001 season against the Angels. Seattle went on to win 116 games that season.

There won't be any win records this season for the Mariners. But the Mariners are taking advantage of weak points in their scheduling, winning seven of eight games against the Royals since the All-Star break.

"These are the types of games you're glad you're the home team and get those final at-bats," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Ultimately we had some guys step up late."

Hernandez was on pace for his sixth straight win, giving up just five hits and two runs. But he lost out on that chance when the Mariners' bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth.

As they did previously in the series, Seattle's bats answered immediately. Mike Carp opened the Seattle eighth with his third hit, a double that thudded off the wall in left. Munenori Kawasaki came on as a pinch-runner and Trayvon Robinson laid down a perfect sacrifice up the third-base line.

Reliever Jose Mijares (2-2) fielded the bunt, but his throw was rushed and the ball went rolling into foul territory as Kawasaki scored the go-ahead run. Casper Wells added an RBI single later in the inning.

Even though Hernandez didn't get the decision, his performance Sunday continued a brilliant six weeks of pitching from the former AL Cy Young Award winner. Hernandez has not lost since June 12 and has allowed a combined 12 earned runs over his last 67 1/3 innings, watching his ERA plummet from 3.70 to 2.79 over the last nine starts.

Hernandez got a scare in the fourth when he hung a 3-2 breaking ball to Eric Hosmer that was lined back up the middle and off the inside of the right-hander's left hand near his wrist. Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin were immediately to the mound as Hernandez grimaced in discomfort, but never left the field.

Hernandez struggled to start the fifth, giving up a run on Alcides Escobar's infield groundout, but retired his final nine batters. He struck out six and walked two.

The injury seemed to bother Hernandez. He sometimes caught return throws from catcher Miguel Olivo or his infielders with his bare hand rather than his glove.

"A little bruised. It's fine," Hernandez said. "They were not going to take me out today."

X-rays on Hernandez's hand were negative, Wedge said.

All signs pointed toward another Hernandez victory after Lucas Luetge started the eighth with a strikeout. He was replaced by Brandon League, who gave up three hits and three runs while recording just one out.

The big blow came after League was pulled when Hosmer grounded a two-run single off Oliver Perez (1-2) that allowed Butler and Salvador Perez to score after both had advanced on a wild pitch earlier in the at-bat.

"This one hurt, we needed to win this game," Hosmer said. "It's a tough road trip for us but a good off day tomorrow, get things going at home."

Carp and Robinson both had RBI doubles earlier in the game and Kyle Seager had a two-run, two-out single in the seventh. Seager now has 36 two-out RBIs on the season, tops in the American League.

"We've been playing pretty well lately and scoring some runs and pitching has been great," Seager said. "It's been great."

Game notes
The MRI on the right knee of Royals 3B Mike Moustakas showed no damage and he is expected to be back for Tuesday's game against the Cleveland Indians. Moustakas hurt his knee when making a play behind third base Saturday. Moustakas dove, then rolled over to throw to first and hurt his knee while doing so. ... Royals were swept in a four-game series for the second time this season. The previous time was against Toronto. ... Seattle improved to 11-6 since the All-Star break, the second-best mark in the American League.