SEATTLE -- Much was expected from Mariners starters Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez this weekend against the Rangers, but Doug Fister was stealing the show on Sunday.
Fister retired the first 16 batters in order on Sunday, keeping a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings, thanks to Ichiro Suzuki's home run-robbing catch of a Justin Smoak fly ball to lead off the sixth. But catcher Max Ramirez followed with a single to break up the perfect game.
Through five frames, Fister recorded just one strikeout, relying on Seattle's steady defense to handle the balls in play.
Prior to the sixth, Fister threw 40 of his 60 pitches for strikes, getting nine groundouts, four flyouts, a lineout and one strikeout. Rangers right fielder David Murphy hit deep balls to right field and center in his first two at-bats, but Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez were able to run both down for outs.
In the fifth, he fell behind Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, 3-0, but after a called strike, Kinsler grounded out to Jose Lopez at third. Former Mariner Ryan Garko, who was cut during Spring Training, was up next, and Fister got him to fly out to center field.
Fister has been the pleasant surprise of Seattle's staff so far, posting a 2-1 record and a 1.67 ERA in four starts before Sunday. He was chased from his first outing after four innings on April 8 in Oakland, but since then, he has had three straight quality starts.
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.