Hernandez silences Angels through eight to spoil Kazmir's dazzling debut

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez knew he had to be at his best against a potent Los Angeles lineup.

Hernandez pitched eight scoreless innings to spoil the Los Angeles debut of left-hander Scott Kazmir and the Mariners beat the Angels 3-0 on Wednesday night.

"I was in the bullpen and felt like, 'I got to be Felix today because they got a pretty good team,'" said the Seattle Mariners ace.

Hernandez (14-5) gave up four hits, walked three and struck out six to lower his ERA to 2.65 -- second best in the American League behind Kansas City's Zack Greinke (2.32).

Kazmir, who was acquired on Friday by the Angels from Tampa Bay, gave up one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

"I knew it was going to [be] a pretty good game," said Hernandez, who beat the Angels for the first time since April 11, 2008. "Kazmir threw outstanding. For me, the key was getting ahead of the hitters. They are great hitters."

After a shaky start to the first inning, Kazmir retired 18 straight before Mike Sweeney opened the seventh with a walk. Bill Hall followed with a double to make it 1-0.

With a 2-0 count on Jack Wilson, Hall then stole third and came home when catcher Mike Napoli's throw bounced past Chone Figgins.

"Usually when pitchers are behind 2-0, 3-0, they really don't want to look back there, they want to concentrate on the mitt," Hall said. "You can get a nice little running lead if they don't look at you."

Seattle added a run in the eighth when Kevin Jepsen issued a bases-loaded walk to Adrian Beltre.

David Aardsma pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 37 chances.

Hernandez had just one challenging inning. In the third, Mike Napoli had a one-out single then Figgins and Abreu drew two-out walks to load the bases. He then struck out Torii Hunter to escape the threat.

"When we had a chance to score but he would bear down and throw 96 with sink. That's pretty tough," Hunter said. "With our ball club, I felt like we could get runs with anybody but Felix Hernandez. Wow. He's pretty filthy."

The Angels now go to Kansas City next and will face Greinke Saturday. But Hunter said Greinke "is not as tough" as Hernandez.

"Hernandez is definitely nasty, with sink," Hunter said. "Greinke doesn't have that sink. Greinke is just explosive."

The Angels won the opening game of this series, 10-0, but the second-highest scoring team in baseball was held without a run over the past two games.

"For the most part, they did a good job on the mound against us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We are going to have to find that offensive continuity and start doing some of the things we know we can do."

Kazmir (8-8) ran into trouble in the first inning when Ichiro Suzuki led off with an infield single. Franklin Gutierrez singled to center with Suzuki sweeping to third. Kazmir then hit Jose Lopez to load the bases.

But Kazmir, who has a career .138 opponents batting average with the bases loaded, then struck out Sweeney, Beltre, and Hall.

"Felix pitched great out there, a quality game," Kazmir said. "I wish I could have been a little more economical in the first inning.

"I felt like there was one pitch I really wanted back -- the pitch to Bill Hall. I wanted to throw a fastball in but it got a lot more of the plate than I wanted to."

Game notes
DH Ken Griffey, Jr., who has been unavailable for the past six games because of sore left knee, is expected to start Thursday. "The MRI came back looked real good, so he'll be ready to go," Wakamatsu said. ... Abreu is on a 4-for-31 slide but Scioscia is not concerned. "He's in a little funk now but he says he feels as strong as ever," he said. "We really feel he's going to finish strong so this is just a little bump in the road." ... Napoli's second-inning single broke an 0-for-16 skid.