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Pittsburgh • Felix Hernandez scattered six hits and Jesus Montero broke a tie with a solo home run in the seventh inning off A.J. Burnett to help the Seattle Mariners beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Wednesday.
Hernandez (5-2) struck out five and walked one to improve to 4-0 in his last five starts while shaving his ERA to 1.53. The right-hander shook off a shaky first inning then settled down to allow four base runners in his final seven innings of work. Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth for his ninth save.
Burnett (3-3) was almost as sharp, giving up just two hits over seven innings while striking out nine. Yet he also walked four batters and gave up Montero's third homer of the season with one out in the seventh.
Starling Marte had two hits for Pittsburgh and Andrew McCutchen added an RBI single but the Pirates couldn't sweep the brief two-game series.
The showdown between the two staff aces lived up to its billing. Hernandez entered the game ranked in the top five in the American League in ERA and strikeouts while Burnett came in unbeaten in nearly a month and second in the National League in strikeouts behind New York's Matt Harvey.
Hernandez's only miscue came in the first. Starling Marte led off with a double his 17th lead-off hit this season then came around to score when McCutchen singled up the middle with one out. Garrett Jones then walked, but Pittsburgh's promising inning disappeared when Mike McKenry hit into a double-play.