(SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez looks to become the majors' second 11- game winner, and the American League's first, as the Seattle Mariners open up a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
Hernandez put forth the worst start of his career on June 12, when he was blasted for eight runs while recording just one out in Houston. However, he bounced back brilliantly against San Francisco on Wednesday, hurling eight scoreless innings of four-hit ball. He struck out five and walked two, moving to 10-3 with a 3.08 earned run average this season.
The right-hander, who is trying to join Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole with 11 wins, is 4-4 lifetime versus the Royals with a 2.80 ERA in 11 starts.
Joe Blanton gets the call for the Royals and is coming off his first start since 2013, a 10-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
Blanton, who did not pitch in the majors last season, posted a 1.80 ERA over seven relief appearances before logging five innings versus the Brewers. He yielded just one run on five hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four.
"It felt good to be back," said Blanton. "For me it was mentally getting away and getting a breather. It may not be really what you want to do, take a year off, but it seemed to be a good thing for me."
The 34-year-old righty earned his first win since June 29, 2013 and is 8-7 with a 3.69 ERA in 18 career meetings with the Mariners.
Kansas City tries to rebound from a series loss to the Boston Red Sox, falling 13-2 in Sunday's rubber match. Chris Young came into the start on a 13 1/3 scoreless-innings streak, but gave up three of Boston's four home runs.
Young was charged with seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
"(My start) wasn't horrible until the fifth, then the wheels came off," Young said of the five-run frame.
Lorenzo Cain prevented a shutout with a triple off Koji Uehara in the bottom of the ninth that brought in Omar Infante and Drew Butera, both of whom singled.
The Royals were coming off a four-game sweep of Milwaukee and still lead the AL Central by 3 1/2 games over Minnesota.
The Mariners were denied a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros as they lost Sunday's series finale 6-2.
Logan Morrison scored twice, while Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano each drove in a run apiece for the Mariners. Starter J.A. Happ give up three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over five frames to lose his third straight start.
"We couldn't get the big hit to put us over the hump," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
The Mariners have won seven of their past nine against the Royals.