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SEA@TEX: Felix goes seven strong, fans seven Rangers

After taking two of three against the Reds over the weekend, the Mariners are back home for a four-game series against a streaking Red Sox team.

After Sunday's loss to the Angels, the Sox still have won five of seven and nine of their last 12 to take a 4 1/2-game lead in the American League East.

The Sox will look to ride the momentum against Seattle, which is Boston's second stop on a 10-game road trip along the West Coast that leads into the All-Star break.

Two pitchers with a track record of success will take the mound in the opening game of the series on Monday when recently named All-Star Felix Hernandez squares off against Jon Lester.

In the beginning of the season, it certainly looked like Lester would join Hernandez on the AL All-Star team, but a slump that saw him record a 7.62 ERA in June derailed his chances.

Lately, the lefty has shown signs of improvement. He's gone seven innings in each of his last two starts while posting a 3.21 ERA, including a one-run performance against the Padres on Wednesday.

"He just continued the performance that he set last time out against Toronto and it was good to see him on a hot muggy night get through seven solid innings and keep the game in check," said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the outing. "That was a well-pitched game all the way around, and good to come out on the right side of it."

To be successful against Seattle, Lester will have to try to limit a lineup that has a flare for the long ball. The Mariners are third in the AL with 104 home runs this season. Homers have accounted for 49.8 percent of their runs.

As has become customary, Hernandez has continued to be one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. Through 18 starts, he's gone 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA, which ranks second in the AL behind teammate and fellow All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma.

But despite back-to-back outings in which the right-hander gave up just two runs over seven innings, Hernandez is winless since June 15, taking no-decisions in each of his last three starts.

He'll try to change that Monday when he takes on a Red Sox lineup that has scored more runs than any team in baseball this season.

Red Sox: Miller to DL
Reliever Andrew Miller has been one of the Red Sox's most valuable options out of the bullpen this season, but they'll have to manage without him after the lefty was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a left foot injury.

The injury occurred during the seventh inning of Saturday's 9-7 loss to the Angels when Miller, after giving up a single to J.B. Shuck, tripped while going to cover home.

Miller was in severe pain when he walked off the mound and had to be helped to the clubhouse by teammates.

Miller was 1-2 with a 2.64 ERA in 37 appearances this season.

Alfredo Aceves was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace Miller on the roster. Aceves has been effective for Boston this season as a fill-in starter, but has posted an 8.44 ERA as a reliever.

Mariners: Ibanez extends hit streak
Raul Ibanez stretched his hit streak to 12 games Sunday as he continues to produce at a rate few have sustained at his age.

The 41-year-old led the Mariners with 10 homers and 22 RBIs in June, making him the second-oldest player (Barry Bonds) since 1993 to pace his team in both categories for an entire month.

With 21 home runs and 49 RBIs on the season, manager Eric Wedge thought the veteran deserved some consideration for the All-Star team.

"What Raul has done, just to be in great shape, work so hard to be who he is and then have that translate on the field this year," Wedge said. "At his age, it's a tremendous accomplishment."

Worth noting
• Seattle has hit an MLB-best 22 home runs in the first inning this season.

• The Mariners lead the AL with 13 extra-inning games this season. They're 6-7 in those contests.

• Red Sox starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight straight games, combining for a 2.39 ERA (14 earned runs in 52 2/3 innings pitched) in that stretch. The Red Sox have gone 5-3 in those games. Comments