Hernandez believes he was dealing with food poisoning after eating dinner in his Kansas City hotel after the team arrived on its flight from Chicago.
“It started last night and I woke up this morning throwing up,” Hernandez said. “I threw up like 14 times. I just tried to go out there. The way the hitters have been swinging the bats, I figured if I could go through five [innings] I’d have a good chance to win.”
Hernandez fell awkwardly trying to avoid a hard grounder up the middle in the top of the first, but the initial report indicated that was not the reason for his departure and acknowledged he felt dizzy while trying to get up.
“It was a crazy night with the pitching, with Felix being under the weather,” manager Scott Servais said. “He tried to gut it out, but it just wasn’t going to happen. He wanted to go out there and give us what he could, but it was clear in the first inning when the ball came up the middle and he was dizzy when I went out there.”
Hernandez had already given up two runs on three straight hits to start the game -- a single by Whit Merrifield, an RBI double by Adalberto Mondesi and a run-scoring single by Alex Gordon -- when Ryan O’Hearn ripped a one-out ground ball up the middle.
Hernandez appeared to avoid the ball, but fell to the ground and got up slowly, as Servais and club athletic trainer Rob Nodine came to the mound to check him out.
Hernandez remained in the game and hit the next batter before getting an inning-ending flyout by Chris Owings to limit the damage to two runs, which the Mariners quickly made up in the top of the second on home runs by Daniel Vogelbach and rookie Dylan Moore.
Four relievers -- Chasen Bradford, Roenis Elias, Connor Sadzeck and Cory Gearrin -- combined to cover the final eight innings while allowing three more runs on seven hits. Elias was credited with the win after throwing three hitless innings with one walk and four strikeouts.
“Great job by our bullpen,” Servais said. “Elias was really solid and changed the momentum of the game. He threw up some zeros up there, the offense got rolling and it was a nice night.”
The Mariners have now homered in 12 straight games to open the season, just the fourth American League team to do so since 1908.
Hernandez was making his second start of the season, having thrown 5 1/3 innings while allowing three runs (one earned) in a 6-3 win over the Angels last week. That was his first win since June 30 of last season, snapping a streak of 11 straight appearances (10 starts) without a victory.
The one-inning outing was Hernandez’s shortest start since he was lifted after getting just one out in a 9-3 loss at Houston on June 12, 2015. He also pitched just one-third of an inning in an April 18, 2007, game due to an ankle injury.