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LAA@SEA: Felix stellar, goes the distance for the win

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez was about to have perhaps his best outing this season go to waste against a near-unflappable Dan Haren and the Angels.

Mike Carp made sure that didn't happen.

Just two nights after hitting a go-ahead, 432-foot homer in the eighth inning of Monday's win, the hot-hitting Carp smacked a two-out, two-run double off Angels reliever Scott Downs in the eighth inning to lead the Mariners to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night at Safeco Field.

It was a fitting end to August for Carp, who finished the month with six home runs and 25 RBIs, tying the all-time Mariners rookie record for RBIs in a month.

But the left-handed slugger said Wednesday's win was all about Hernandez.

"The big story is Felix," Carp said. "That guy is amazing and he was electric again tonight. It was a one-run ball game, we're down -- the same situation we've been in a lot. It's just tough to see him go there and pitch so well and not get a big hit for him. It was nice to do that tonight."

Also nice was Hernandez's stellar performance. The Seattle righty went toe-to-toe with Haren -- the Angels righty had retired 15 straight at one point -- and recorded his 18th career complete game, giving up five hits and striking out nine to improve to 13-11.

"Everything working today," the defending American League Cy Young Award winner said. "It was great. I was getting ahead in the count and getting them with my breaking balls."

What was expected to be a pitchers' duel Wednesday night for the 18,520 in attendance certainly turned into one, and it looked like Haren would be the last one standing.

But after keeping the Mariners in check for the better part of Wednesday, the 30-year-old finally began cracking in the seventh inning.

Haren, who lost to Seattle for the first time since Sept. 17, 2007, allowed singles to Carp and Kyle Seager, then loaded the bases after Erick Aybar misplayed a Casper Wells grounder.

Yet shortstop Brendan Ryan couldn't put Seattle on the board, grounding out to Haren to end the seventh. Still, Seattle manager Eric Wedge said it was key to get after Haren.

"I felt like we did a real good job of making Haren work there in the seventh inning," Wedge said. "That had a lot to do with [the win]."

After Hernandez kept his motor running in the eighth, Carp and Co. put the Mariners ahead in the bottom frame.

Haren quickly retired Trayvon Robinson and Ichiro Suzuki, but then allowed back-to-back singles to Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley. After going 7 2/3 innings and giving up just five hits, Haren was pulled and Downs came in for relief.

Carp then ripped a 2-1 pitch out over the plate deep into center field. That sent some electricity through Safeco Field and put Seattle ahead, enabling Hernandez to seal the deal.

"I was real excited about sending Felix back out there for that last inning," Wedge said. "He's had some tough losses in low-scoring games in his career and this year, too. I loved to see him take the bull by the horns out there and just finish it off."

And Hernandez closed it out -- just barely. He struck out Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter, then got Mark Trumbo to fly out to the warning track in right field to cap off an exciting win.

"I mean, that game was unbelievable. One of the most exciting games I've ever played in," said Seager, who finished 2-for-4 with a single and a double. "When you're playing against them and they are right in the middle of the playoff hunt and they have a guy like Dan Haren, you know it's going to be a good atmosphere. With Felix throwing the way he was, it was an unbelievable game."

Fans should come to expect incredible pitching when Haren and Herandez face each other. Wednesday marked the fourth time the two aces met, and in those four games, the pair have a combined ERA of 1.04. (Hernandez: three earned runs in 31 innings and Haren four earned runs in 29 1/3 innings.)

"He's one of the best," Haren said. "He can bring out the best in opposing pitchers as well. He's that good."

After his third strikeout of the game in the third inning, Hernandez moved past Jamie Moyer into second on the all-time Mariners strikeout list with 1,240. Randy Johnson holds the top spot with 2,162 strikeouts.

The Angels went ahead in the third when Howard Kendrick collected his 48th RBI with a base knock to left field that scored Mike Trout from second base.

Ichiro saw his season-high 13-game hitting streak come to an end with a 0-for-4 night. The 37-year-old needs 46 hits over the next 27 games to reach 200 hits for the 11th straight season.

All in all, it was a big win for the young Mariners, who proved that they can beat an All-Star-quality pitcher and his playoff-contending team.

"We got a good thing started here with all the rookies," said Carp, one of 12 rookies on the roster. "We're building toward next year and we're showing them what we got it. It's nice to have games like that to let them think about it next year and let us think about that, too. We want to remember that going into next year and hopefully play well and be in their position next year." Comments