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King Felix, Richards square off at the Big A

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the best American League pitchers hit the mound Saturday in the second game of a three-game series between the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium.

Fresh off his All-Star start, Felix Hernandez will head to the hill to take on the Angels, while Los Angeles counters with an 11-game winner of its own in Garrett Richards.

King Felix has been nearly unstoppable this season, owning an 11-2 record and an American League-low 2.12 earned run average. He also has recorded 154 strikeouts (second best in the AL) to just 25 walks through 20 starts.

It's been over a month since Hernandez has picked up a loss, which last occurred on June 13 against Texas. In three consecutive starts, Hernandez has pitched eight innings.

He struck out two in a scoreless first inning in the All-Star Game, and allowed two runs on six hits with nine strikeouts in a 3-2 win over Oakland in his last full start on July 11.

"It was amazing," Hernandez said of starting the All-Star game. "One of the best experiences of my life. It was a special night for me and my family."

On the road, he is 4-0 this season with a 2.07 ERA. But against the Angels in his career, Hernandez owns a 10-13 record with a 3.80 ERA.

Richards, who turned 26 this season, has certainly been in the shadow of Hernandez when it comes to the best pitchers in the AL. But with an identical 11-2 record and a 2.55 ERA, he isn't totally overlooked.

Richards has recorded 127 strikeouts for the Angels this season, and hasn't lost a game since May 30 -- a much longer streak than Hernandez. He's picked up wins in five straight outings.

He went seven scoreless innings against Texas on July 11, giving up just five hits and striking out eight. At home this season, Richards is 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA, and while pitching at night he's 9-2 with a 2.74 ERA.

The two squads needed 16 innings Friday night to decide a winner. With two on in the bottom of the 16th, Efren Navarro turned on the first pitch of his pinch-hit at-bat and lined a single up the middle, bringing All-Star Mike Trout home for the 3-2 winning run.

The contest was a battle between pitchers. Jered Weaver got the start for the Angels and lasted six innings. He allowed six hits, two runs and struck out eight batters. Hector Santiago earned the win after spending 2 2/3 innings on the mound late into the night.

Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning, but Seattle came back to tie it in the seventh on singles by Brad Miller and Endy Chavez. Those would be the last two scores for another eight innings.

The Angels have won six consecutive games and 11 of their last 12. Seattle has lost two in a row and five of its last seven games dating back to last week. The Angels are in second place in the American League West, while Seattle sits third in the division.

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