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OAK@SEA: Hernandez strikes out six over seven frames

After facing Oakland three straight times to start the season, Felix Hernandez has to be happy just to see a different lineup.

Hernandez would likely be even more pleased if the Indians lineup from Wednesday's 4-1 loss showed up Thursday at Safeco Field -- as opposed to the one that torched the opposition for 41 runs over its previous four games.

Lefty Jason Vargas helped slow down the seemingly unstoppable Tribe, holding Cleveland to only one run on four hits, and Hernandez will look to do more of the same. Seattle's ace is 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA after being pegged for the loss in his last outing, despite allowing just two runs in seven innings.

"I've been feeling pretty good the last three starts. Just got to continue doing that, and I'll be OK," Hernandez said. "Everything's been working for me. Sometimes you get behind in the count -- no matter what you're going to throw, if you get behind to the hitters, they're going to hurt you. You got to find your spots, make good pitches, execute good pitches and you'll be all right. Just go after hitters, throw strikes and just finish them."

That's been easier said than done against Cleveland lately. After an extremely slow start at the plate, the Indians rocketed toward the top of the league in runs scored.

Cleveland manager Manny Acta said his players haven't changed their mindset at all this season, whether they were hitting a collective .176 and struggling to put up any runs, or racking them up as they did over the first four games of this nine-game road trip.

"I think they felt the same thing that we felt, that they had a lot of quality at-bats," Acta said. "We walked a lot on our homestand. We just weren't getting any hits. We knew that the water was going to get to the level that it's supposed to be. We're not going to continue to score eight runs a game, but for sure we weren't going to be hitting .170 as a team. This kind of evens things up.

"Right now, nobody remembers the first week of the season when we hit .170. Every one of these guys is confident that if we stay healthy, for the most part, we're going to be able to compete offensively."

It'll be up to Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin to compete on the mound Thursday. Due to rain and off-days, Tomlin has had an odd schedule of late. He started April 9 and gave up four runs on seven hits, then struggled in long relief on Saturday, allowing five runs (four earned) over 3 2/3 innings.

Indians: Gomez to appeal five-game suspension
• Jeanmar Gomez received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine from Major League Baseball after hitting Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas with a pitch during Saturday's game in Kansas City. Gomez, who reiterated that he did not intentionally hit Moustakas, has appealed the decision.

"We respect the league's decision," Acta said. "We're going to make the proper adjustments. Gomez is going to appeal, he's going to pitch on Saturday against Oakland, and then probably after that he'll drop it and pitch again."

In addition to Gomez's suspension, closer Chris Perez was given a $750 fine -- not for anything he did on the field, but rather for his Saturday night Twitter post, which read: "Huge team win tonight, time for a sweep of the Royals. It's not "Our Time', it's TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we it you. Period."

• Center fielder Grady Sizemore started a light jogging routine and is working on core and back strengthening drills. Sizemore, on the 60-day disabled list following lower back surgery in March, has been cleared to begin baseball activities next week.

Mariners: Smoak to have hamstring reevaluated
• First baseman Justin Smoak had to watch Wednesday's game from the dugout due to tightness in his right hamstring. He will be reevaluated Thursday.

Manager Eric Wedge said the injury isn't serious, but he didn't think it would be smart to push Smoak at this point. Smoak said he can't feel the injury at the plate, only when running the bases.

"It's one of those things where I talked to Wedge about it, and I'd rather miss a day than a couple weeks," Smoak said. "That's where we're at right now. It's day to day. Nothing serious. The goal is to get treatment, calm it down and be ready to go tomorrow."

• Mike Carp, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right shoulder he suffered in Tokyo on March 28, has been working his way back as a designated hitter at Triple-A Tacoma. Wedge said the left fielder needs to fully regain his arm strength before he'll be recalled to the Mariners.

"He's moving along," Wedge said. "We just need to get him in the outfield and have him start making that progress. He's swinging the bat well and feels pretty good. But we still need to get him in the outfield for a few [games]. We'll get through this week and see where we are."

Worth noting
• Before putting up only one run Wednesday night, the Indians set a franchise record by scoring at least eight runs in each of their first four road games. That was the longest streak in baseball since the Yankees did the same in 2003. The last team to score eight runs in its first five road games was the 1896 Pirates, who did so in their first six, according to STATS LLC.

• The Mariners are offering free tickets for a home game in April or May, along with a $5 credit at the concession stands, to all fans who attended Opening Night at Safeco Field. There were long lines at the concession stands last Friday due to a computer system failure, an experience Mariners president Chuck Armstrong called "unacceptable."

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