Athletics-Mariners Preview

The only time Felix Hernandez didn't win a start this year came against the Oakland Athletics, and avoiding that fate again will make him the first starter to go 6-0 for the Seattle Mariners in 14 years.

Hernandez looks to become the AL's first six-game winner and help the Mariners complete a sweep of the A's on Sunday.

Hernandez (5-0, 1.73 ERA) is off to the best start of his career, but his worst performance came in an 8-7, 10-inning win at Oakland on April 12. The right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits in a season-low five innings.

The 2010 AL Cy Young winner has won four starts since behind a 1.21 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 29 2-3 innings, putting him on the verge of becoming the first Mariner to go 6-0 since 2001 when Aaron Sele went 8-0 and Freddy Garcia won his first six decisions.

Hernandez struck out eight and allowed one run in seven innings of a 3-2 road win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, ending Seattle's season high-tying four-game slide.

"That's a true No. 1," manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB's official website. "That's what they're built for. That's what they're made for. And he certainly did a heckuva job for us."

That's certainly been true at Safeco Field, where Hernandez has won all three starts with a 0.78 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 23 innings. The five-time All-Star is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last three home starts against the A's, completing at least seven innings in each.

Hernandez needs five strikeouts to reach 2,000. At age 29 and 32 days, he would be the fourth youngest pitcher in history to reach that milestone.

The Mariners (13-17) have an opportunity to record their first home sweep and match their longest win streak of the season. They opened this series with a 4-3, 11-inning win over Oakland (12-20) on Friday before cruising to a 7-2 victory Saturday.

Robinson Cano has four hits in this series after collecting three Saturday, giving him a .357 average at home compared to .209 on the road. He has a similar trend against the A's, batting .405 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 11 meetings at Safeco while batting .212 with two RBIs in 13 at Oakland.

The venue hasn't mattered much with Nelson Cruz, who leads the majors with 14 homers and tops the Mariners with a .347 average. He's 13 for 31 (.419) with four home runs in eight games, going 4 for 7 with an RBI double in two versus the A's.

Oakland's most recent win came with Jesse Chavez (1-2, 1.80) on the mound and he'll try to put a stop to the team's four-game skid.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts since being moved into the rotation, but he hasn't won back-to-back starts since last May.

Chavez was superb Tuesday, striking out seven and yielding one unearned run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1 win at Minnesota.

"Just me being in the moment, fiery," Chavez said. "Just wanted it. That was the only thing. I was just in the moment and wanted to compete. I just wanted to win."

Chavez owns a 2.48 ERA In 12 career games against the Mariners, but he's 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in three starts.

He's struggled against Seattle's top hitters, with Cano going 5 for 11 and Cruz 3 for 5 with a pair of homers and a double.

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