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Hernandez and Mariners beat slumping Tigers 9-1

Associated Press Modified: April 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm •  Published: April 25, 2012

DETROIT (AP) — Felix Hernandez couldn't recall struggling to throw strikes as much as he did early on Wednesday night.

That's probably because Hernandez walked three in the first inning for the first time in his major league career.

Seattle's ace got out of that jam unscathed, allowed only a run in seven innings and the Mariners beat the slumping Detroit Tigers 9-1.

"This is not a good lineup to get behind in the count," Hernandez said. "But then I started to get lucky."

He also was pretty good.

Hernandez (2-1) gave up a solo homer to Brennan Boesch in the third — and not much else. The right-hander yielded four hits and all of his free passes were in the first.

Rookie Alex Liddi gave Hernandez enough run support by himself.

Liddi hit a two-run homer in the third inning to chase the first of two pitchers with a swing of his surprising bat. His second homer in as many days ended Adam Wilk's night after he got just six outs. Liddi's single in the sixth loaded the bases and finished rookie reliever Thad Weber.

Collin Balester induced three flyouts, but walked in a run to make it 9-1.

"It feels good to hit the home runs, but winning both games makes it better," Liddi said.

Seattle has won two straight after losing four in a row.

The Tigers have lost five of six after starting 9-3.

"People are beating up on us — and enjoying it," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Sooner or later, we'll get tired of it. None of us are doing enough good things right now."

Wilk (0-3) allowed six runs and eight hits in just two-plus innings. The rookie gave up just two runs in each of his first two starts. He was sent to Triple-A Toledo after the game and Brayan Villarreal was called up to take his place on the roster. Leyland said he didn't know who would take Wilk's spot in the rotation Monday against Kansas City

Hernandez got out of his only jam in the first inning. He got Alex Avila to ground out to second baseman Dustin Ackley, who bobbled the ball, but scooped it up and threw to first in time to get the slow-footed catcher to strand three runners.

"He was good when he needed to be," Leyland said. "We had a chance to get him in the first inning, and we didn't take it. You aren't going to get many chances against him."

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