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Cruz hits 14th HR, Hernandez pitches Mariners past Angels

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Mariners edge Angels

Nelson Cruz hits his 14th home run of the season in the Mariners' 3-2 victory over the Angels.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Nelson Cruz hit his major league-leading 14th home run and Felix Hernandez won his fifth straight decision to start the season, leading the Seattle Mariners over the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Monday night.

Cruz celebrated his first AL Player of the Month Award with a leadoff shot against Matt Shoemaker that snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh.

Hernandez (5-0) allowed a run and six hits in seven innings while striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 1.73. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner became the first Seattle starter to win his first five decisions since 2001. That year, Aaron Sele started 8-0, Freddy Garcia 6-0 and Jamie Moyer 5-0.

Logan Morrison and Seth Smith also homered off Shoemaker (2-2), who was 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his four previous starts against the Mariners. The right-hander yielded four hits through 7 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts.

Both teams entered this series having been swept in their previous one -- the Angels in three games at San Francisco and the Mariners in four games at Houston.

Two batters after Cruz connected on a 1-2 pitch, Morrison sent a shot deep into the right-field stands for his fourth of the season.

Matt Joyce, who came in batting .141 in his first season with the Angels, got one of the runs back in the bottom half with his first homer on Hernandez's 98th pitch.

Until then, Hernandez had not allowed a home run in 41 innings since Angels star Mike Trout took him deep in the first inning of his season debut April 6.

Smith restored Seattle's two-run lead in the eighth with a drive to right on Shoemaker's 90th and final pitch.

Fernando Rodney closed for his eighth save in nine attempts. He gave up a home run to David Freese after retiring Kole Calhoun on a fly to the warning track.

The game ended when catcher Mike Zunino threw out pinch-runner Collin Cowgill trying to steal second on the first pitch to C.J. Cron.

Hernandez ended the first inning by retiring Calhoun on a called third strike for his 1,989th career strikeout, surpassing Johan Santana for the most by a Venezuelan-born pitcher in the majors. Calhoun was 0 for 3 against Hernandez and is 1 for 21 lifetime with eight strikeouts.

Shoemaker struck out the side on 16 pitches in the third, and Hernandez struck out the side on 15 pitches in the fifth.

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Mariners: LHP Mike Kickham was designated for assignment, LHP Joe Beimel's contract was selected from Triple-A Tacoma, and RHP Mark Lowe was recalled from the Rainiers. Tacoma OF Julio Morban was placed on the restricted list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Lowe. SS Chris Taylor also was recalled from Tacoma and batted ninth, going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Angels: Recalled C Carlos Perez from Triple-A Salt Lake and designated C Drew Butera for assignment. Perez, obtained last November in a trade that sent C Hank Conger to Houston, batted .361 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 17 games at Salt Lake. "This wasn't as much about what Drew was or wasn't doing, it was about what Carlos was doing," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's his time to come up here and have an opportunity to play. He's ready for the challenge of the major leagues."

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (0-2) is 0-4 with a 6.26 ERA in his last eight starts since beating Oakland 4-2 on Sept. 12 at Safeco Field. His drought includes two defeats against the Angels -- one of them in his season debut, when he gave up a two-run homer to Freese in a 2-0 loss to C.J. Wilson.

Angels: Garrett Richards (2-1) makes his fourth start of the season, completing the cycle against the team's AL West rivals. He is 16-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 50 career appearances (31 starts) within the division.