ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Felix Hernandez thinks the Mariners' offseason reboot will produce impressive results this season, and Seattle's ace was glad to help out in yet another win on opening day.
Abraham Almonte hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning and Hernandez struck out 11 in the new-look Mariners' eighth consecutive victory on opening day, 10-3 over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Hernandez (1-0) gave up four hits over six innings in his seventh opening day start for the Mariners. After he allowed a first-inning homer by Mike Trout, Hernandez settled into his usual brilliance — and unlike many nights last season, his teammates provided enough runs to win.
"You've just got to make good pitches, and we're going to be OK this season," said Hernandez, who passed Randy Johnson for the club record for opening day starts. "I can feel that. I made a couple of mistakes, but I felt really confident with these guys."
Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and Dustin Ackley had a three-run triple while the Mariners batted around in the ninth inning, roaring back from an early two-run deficit.
Robinson Cano went 2 for 4 with a double and an intentional walk in the $240 million second baseman's debut for new Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon, who hesitated to ascribe much significance to a close game that turned into a blowout win.
"I thought our starter did a tremendous job and battled all night," said McClendon, who replaced Eric Wedge. "The bullpen did a fantastic job, and the offense did a great job grinding out at-bats."
Trout hit a two-run homer and Albert Pujols had a run-scoring double for the Angels, who had won nine of 10 on opening day, including five straight.
Their evening got off to an ominous start when hitting coach Don Baylor broke his right leg while catching Vladimir Guerrero's ceremonial first pitch.
"Obviously it's a freak (injury)," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll see how it turns out."
The former Rockies and Cubs manager will have surgery on his femur Tuesday. Baylor's leg bent awkwardly before he had to be helped to the dugout, leaving the Angels stunned as they took the field.