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SEA@CLE: Felix limits Tribe to two runs, sets record

The Mariners have played better on the road than at home this season, but manager Lloyd McClendon hopes to improve his team's fortunes at Safeco Field in the final two months. And he's got the right guy on the mound for Tuesday's homestand opener against the Braves in Felix Hernandez.

Hernandez will be looking to extend his Major League record-setting string of 14 straight starts of seven or more innings with two or fewer runs allowed, having beaten Tom Seaver's previous mark in his last outing.

"It's an honor. It means a lot to me," Hernandez said. "I'm just happy to do that. I've just got to continue to be consistent and keep doing what I'm doing."

Hernandez lost that game, a 2-0 pitchers' duel with the Indians' Corey Kluber, despite allowing just two runs on four hits over seven innings. But Hernandez is 11-3 with an American League-leading 2.01 ERA going into Tuesday's Interleague meeting with the Braves.

The Mariners are 31-23 on the road, but just 26-31 at Safeco Field, a situation that has befuddled McClendon.

"I don't know," McClendon said. "Everything has been backward for us. We've played bad at home, we've played well on the road. We beat up on left-handers. ... I don't know. I don't get it. I'm just rolling with it.

"I think it's going to even out. I think we will play well at home. We've got some games left and I like where we are now. I think our pitching has been as healthy as it's been all year, and that's going to give us an opportunity to win more games at home. So we'll see."

Hernandez has pitched against the Braves just once, taking the loss in a 2011 game in which he gave up 10 hits and five runs in 7 2/3 innings. But he's 16-7 with a 2.59 ERA in 31 Interleague starts in his career and 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last seven outings against NL foes.

Like he did on Wednesday against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, left-hander Alex Wood will look to compete with one of the best in Hernandez. Wood pitched seven innings of one-run ball, giving up six hits and striking out eight against Los Angeles.

Braves: Simmons searches for offensive groove
Andrelton Simmons had the day off Sunday against the Padres as he continues to struggle at the plate.

Simmons has batted .148 (8-for-54) with a.233 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. In the process, his batting average has dropped from .265 to .249 and his OBP from .309 to .298.

Mariners: McClendon likes new additions
Seattle dealt for outfielders Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, a week after acquiring designated hitter Kendrys Morales. The result is a deeper and more versatile lineup for McClendon.

"We don't have the big bopper in the middle of the order, but we've got a lot of professional hitters," McClendon said. "Certainly having Jackson at the top of the order, this guy knows the strike zone and isn't going to panic. I think he has a career .345 on-base percentage, he scores runs, he gets hits.

"Kendrys has a nice track record as well. They can do some things. It stretches out your lineup and obviously adding Denorfia, that's another guy that is a very professional hitter, has a good track record and isn't going to panic in big situations. I like our lineup."

Worth noting
• The Mariners swept a two-game series in Atlanta in early June for their first victories against the Braves since 2008. The two clubs have met in only four series in Interleague history, with Atlanta owning a 6-5 lead.

• The Braves swept a three-game set at Safeco Field in 2011 in their last trip to Seattle.

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