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Mariners welcome Nationals to Safeco Field

(SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez tries to get the Seattle Mariners back on track Friday when they open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals at Safeco Field.

Seattle enters this series after dropping two of three to the worst team in baseball, the Texas Rangers. Now, the Mariners face a team in the Nationals that they have yet to beat in nine meetings since Washington relocated from Montreal in 2005.

At least they'll have Hernandez going, but he hasn't looked like himself his last few times out.

Hernandez did not get a decision last Friday in Boston, as he allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings of his team's 5-3 win. That start followed an outing in Detroit that saw his major league-record run of 16 consecutive starts in which he lasted at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer come to an end.

Regardless, Hernandez is still 10-3 with a 1.82 ERA over his last 19 outings. Overall on the year he is 13-4 with a 2.07 ERA.

Seattle skipper Lloyd McClendon opted to give Hernandez a little extra rest on Thursday, instead deciding to use Erasmo Ramirez in a spot start against Texas. The move backfired, as Ramirez was charged with 10 runs in three innings of the Mariners' 12-4 loss.

"It was the right thing to do," said McClendon, who won't be on the bench tonight in order to attend his daughter's wedding. "That game is over with. We got our butts kicked. That happens. It hasn't happened very often to us this year. We've just been that good with our pitching."

Washington, meanwhile, will also be trying to bounce back after getting swept by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nats had won 12 of 13 entering that series and still hold a six-game lead on the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.

Hoping to get the Nats untracked Friday will be righty Jordan Zimmermann, who has won his last three decisions and hasn't lost since the All-Star break. Zimmermann's latest triumph came on Saturday against San Francisco, as he allowed a pair of runs in eight innings and struck out eight to improve to 9-5, while lowering his ERA to 2.93.

This is the first meeting between these teams since 2011.

08/29 10:42:25 ET

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