SEATTLE — A.J. Pierzynski homered, David Murphy snapped a 2-all tie with an RBI single in the fifth, and the Texas Rangers toppled Seattle ace Felix Hernandez in a 4-3 win over the Mariners on Thursday night.
Pierzynski hit his second homer of the season with one-out in the second. The Rangers added an unearned run later in the second and scored twice in the fifth to deny Hernandez (1-2) a shot at his 100th career victory.
Thursday night was Hernandez's first home start since he signed a $175 million extension in the offseason that will keep him in Seattle through the 2019 season. The occasion was celebrated with all 22,000-plus fans in attendance receiving giant yellow K-cards and a yellow T-shirt with "King Felix" printed on the front.
But there was concern later in the game for Seattle when Michael Morse left the game in the seventh after getting hit on the right hand with a pitch as he checked his swing.
Morse entered the night tied for the lead in home runs in the majors with six. He initially stayed in the game and got hit in the shoulder on the next pitch from Tanner Scheppers. After getting to first base and taking off his batting glove, Morse called for the trainer and left the game.
There was no immediate word about his injury.
Joe Ortiz pitched two innings in relief of Texas starter Justin Grimm to get his first victory. Ortiz (1-0) allowed no hits and striking out two in his fourth relief appearance of the season. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his third save.
There were plenty of cheers early when Hernandez recorded a pair of first inning strikeouts to reach the 1,500-mark in his career. Hernandez got Murphy looking to end the first inning for No. 1,500. He walked off the mound to be greeted by a handshake from Adrian Beltre – one of Hernandez's closest friends in the game – and catcher Jesus Montero waiting with the ball to commemorate the milestone number.
Hernandez allowed the homer to Pierzynski in the second then saw his defense let him down. Raul Ibanez misplayed Mitch Moreland's line drive to left field for an error. Leonys Martin followed with a single and with two outs, Elvis Andrus had an RBI single to score Moreland and give the Rangers the lead.
After Seattle pulled even, the Rangers broke the deadlock in the fifth. Ian Kinsler led off with a single and scored on Murphy's two-out hit. Nelson Cruz followed with a double to left-field to score Lance Berkman for a 4-2 Texas lead.
Hernandez allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, leaving after giving up a single to Beltre with two outs in the seventh.
Franklin Gutierrez hit his third leadoff homer of the season and added an RBI groundout for Seattle. But Seattle couldn't complete rallies in the seventh or eighth innings.
Kyle Seager snapped a 0-for-18 skid with a two-out single in the seventh off Scheppers. Kendrys Morales walked and Morse was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Lefty Robbie Ross took over for Scheppers and struck out Raul Ibanez to end the threat.
Seattle had one more rally as Justin Smoak singled and Jesus Montero doubled to open the eighth. Robert Andino followed with a slow chopper to score Smoak and cut the Rangers' lead to 4-3 with pinch-runner Endy Chavez advancing to third.
Seattle then tried to squeeze across the tying run, but Brendan Ryan's bunt went directly back at Ross, who moved quickly off the mound and flipped the ball Pierzynski in time to get Chavez breaking from third.
Notes: Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman threw out the first pitch. He was joined by teammates Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor with seats in the first row near the Rangers dugout. ... Seattle gave 2B Dustin Ackley the night off. Ackley is hitting just .100. ... Japanese pitchers Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma will meet for the third time in their major league careers on Friday night. The pitchers faced off six times while playing in Nippon Professional Baseball.