There probably are no 'must win' games in May, but without one today the Seattle Mariners will post a 1-7 record on this trip - among the worst trips in club history.
That's something they don't need to deal with, especially with three games against Boston awaiting them at home.
It's also a chance to gain a game in the standings on the first-place Rangers.
It's Felix vs. Texas. And we're off.
Felix is working hard
Two innings, in and Hernandez has labored to get six outs. It's taken him 42 pitches to do so, and in 80-degree temperatures - and against Texas hitters - that's going to take a toll.
Pitch counts aren't tell alls, but they're like body punches in boxing. Take enough of them and in the late rounds you've got nothing left and you're vulnerable.
Felix has sigven up only one hit, walked two. So far, however, nothing is coming easily.
In the third: no score.
Mariners break through
Jose Lopez singled and with one out, went to third on Adrian Beltre's double. Russell Branyan pushed home his 17th RBI with a ground ball, and Wladimir Balentien's double got Beltre in.
Felix has a lead.
In the fourth: Mariners 2, Rangers 0
Hernandez has gone six innings, and retired 16 of the last 18 Rangers he's faced.
He's doing what aces do - getting stronger as the game goes on, making a small lead seem larger.
In the seventh: Mariners 2, Rangers 0
To the bullpen
After 110 pitches, Felix is gone. David Aardsma, who worked two innings Wednesday, has the eighth inning and Brandon Morrow will almost certainly get the ninth.
Mariners baseball: It's always interesting.