The stage was set for the losing to stop.

The Seattle Mariners had streak-stopper Felix Hernandez on the mound. Safeco Field was packed with 35,022 – the second-largest crowd of the season. It was Hernandez’s “Perfect Game” bobblehead night, commemorating his special achievement last season. It was all in line for the Mariners to right what had been so wrong over the previous seven games.

It didn’t happen.

Hernandez’s usual pin-point command came and went, the Mariners’ offense was its usual ineffective self, and the losing streak is now eight games with a 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.

“I just felt like he was up and

over the plate a little bit,” manager Eric Wedge said of Felix. “They made him work. He controlled damage for the most part and kept us in the ballgame.”

It was a fight from the very start. Hernandez never worked one clean inning. He made it just 52/3 innings giving up five runs on a season-high 11 hits, while striking out nine and walking one.

“I wanted this one really, really bad,” he said. “There was a lot of people. It was a bobblehead night. I wanted to win this for the team and the fans.’

It was the second time in this stretch of futility that Hernandez had a chance to end it. And in both starts, he failed to make it through six innings. It was just the second time since 2010 that Hernandez failed to go at least six innings in consecutive starts.

“The last couple of games he hasn’t been his typical self, that’s for sure,” Wedge said. “But he has been his typical self by being the bulldog that he is and the way that he competes. He’s had a couple of tough ones, but his tough ones are better than most.”

That those two rough outings have come after Hernandez tweaked his back in New York isn’t a factor – to him or the Mariners.

“Oh, yeah, I feel fine, it’s not that,” Hernandez said. “It just can’t happen anymore. I have to go out there and do something about it.”

Hernandez’s lack of command was evident early. He gave up a pair of two-out hits in the first inning, and then surrendered his first run in the second when rookie Jurickson Profar punched an RBI single to right field. Texas tacked on two more on David Murphy’s two-run double to right.

“We just haven’t missed opportunities when he threw a ball in the strike zone,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He’s at his best when he can get you to chase some pitches and then lock you up with the fastball. Tonight, he threw some balls across the plate, and we were fortunate enough to put them in play.”