SEATTLE -- When Félix Hernández stepped into the dugout after the sixth inning on Wednesday night, he had just gotten out of an inning in which he walked two Tigers: Miguel Cabrera in a 13-pitch at-bat and Victor Martinez in a seven-pitch at-bat.
His pitch count was rising, but he wasn't done yet. Manager Scott Servais asked him how he felt.
"I said, 'I'm going to go back out there,' and I felt fine," Hernandez said.
Hernandez went seven innings and only allowed one run on three hits in the Mariners' 3-1 victory to complete the sweep and extend their winning streak to six games. It took Hernandez four starts, but on Wednesday he looked like pre-injury King Felix.
"It may have been one of the better outings that he's had all year," Servais said. Maybe not all the strikeouts that we're used to seeing, but [he] located it, kept the ball down."
Hernandez spent all of June and much of July on the disabled list with a right calf strain. In his first four starts after being activated, he logged a 5.26 ERA, but also somehow managed to earn two wins in that time. Because, well, he's Felix Hernandez.
On Wednesday, the Mariners needed Hernandez to work late into the game, and he threw 117 pitches to do it. Seattle had used its entire bullpen the night before in a 15-inning victory, so fresh arms were lacking.
Hernandez knew that.
"I've just got to step up a little more," he said.
Hernandez said he felt better, like he had command of his pitches. He struck out eight and faced the minimum in five of his seven innings, one of which was the seventh.
"He does not give in late in the game," Servais said. "He's not going to beat himself. He's going to continue to make pitches. And that's why he's Felix."