Felix Hernandez lost his fourth straight start and Will Smith struck out a career high eight to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Monday. The Mariners right-hander hasn't lost four straight starts since 2008. Smith (2-1) pitched 4 1-3 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the victory , allowing just one hit, after starter Danny Duffy failed to make it through four innings.
Five of Smith's strikeouts took only three pitches. Greg Holland pitched a one-hit ninth for his 37th save in 39 opportunities.
King Felix Leaves Game With Back Cramp
Seattle Mariners star Felix Hernandez left in the seventh inning of Monday's game against the Kansas City Royals with an aching lower back. After Hernandez made a pitch to Alex Gordon, Mariners manager Eric Wedge and a trainer rushed to the mound. They had a brief conversation with Hernandez and he was replaced by Oliver Perez. The team announced the injury was a cramp in his lower back. Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, struck out Mike Moustakas in the sixth for his 200th strikeout, the fifth consecutive season he has reached that mark. He had thrown 105 pitches in 6 2/3 innings and Seattle was trailing 3-1.