Seattle dropped to 28-19 on the season and failed to take advantage of a Rangers’ loss in Pittsburgh.

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A packed Safeco Field, Felix Hernandez on the mound facing the worst team in baseball and a far-from-overpowering opposing pitcher with three total appearances (two starts) in his big-league career.

The setup for success Friday could not have been much better for the Mariners, who had just scored 13 runs in their last outing and were poised to establish themselves as the team with the best record in the American League.

And then the game started.

Hernandez pitched decently in five of his innings, but mixed in was a victory-killing, crowd-silencing, five-run third inning, while his teammates couldn’t crack the riddle that was left-hander Pat Dean and his tailing 90 mph fastball.

And the 40,921 fans in attendance — some in the King’s Court, some wearing the bomber hat giveaway, many there to see a first-place team — were treated to a lackluster 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins, who now have a total of 13 wins this season.

“That was a clunker,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “We did not play a good ballgame. It was not a great night all the way around. It happens once in a while. It’s disappointing. Great crowd tonight and everybody was fired up for a big weekend. Just not a good game.”

Seattle dropped to 28-19 and failed to take advantage of a Texas loss in Pittsburgh to add some cushion to their lead in the American League West.

Hernandez’s outing fell apart during an interminable third inning that saw all nine Twins hitters come to the plate, with five runs scoring on five hits.

Tied at 1, the third inning started with a line-drive double from Danny Santana under the glove of a stunned Dae-Ho Lee. Eduardo Nunez followed with a perfect bunt that went for a single. Brian Dozier jumped on a first-pitch slider, pulling a double into left field to score a run. Joe Mauer ambushed a first-pitch curveball up in the zone, lining a single up the middle to make it 3-1.

Hernandez then walked Miguel Sano, who had homered in his previous at-bat, to load the bases. He finally got his first out of the inning on a fly ball to shallow center that wasn’t deep enough to score a run.

But any chance of an inning-ending double-play ball to limit damage vanished when Robbie Grossman doubled over the head of Lee at first to score two more runs.

The common denominator on all the pitches that went for hits?

“Just a lot of balls in the middle of the plate,” Servais said.

Middle of the plate, and up, another bad spot.

“I was just leaving everything up,” Hernandez said. “My curveball and changeup were up. I didn’t have any command of my fastball in that inning. It was a bad inning.”

The poor location came from a familiar mechanical breakdown that he has been fighting the past few seasons.

“I was flying open,” he said. “I need to be more calm and more relaxed on the mound. I’m going to go out and work in my bullpen (session) and try to stay closed.”

The final run of the inning game moments later when Park hit a soft ground ball to third. He acted as if the ball hit him on the foot and looked for a foul-ball call.

Kyle Seager fielded the ball and threw home to get Sano, who was running on the play, but the throw was late. Park was standing in the batter’s box watching the play unfold. So after missing out on Sano, catcher Chris Iannetta turned and tagged Park for the second out.

“You can’t review that play,” Servais said.

The third out was more conventional — a ground-ball out from Kurt Suzuki. But the damage was done, and the Mariners were down 6-1.

Hernandez (4-4) managed to give Seattle six innings to protect the bullpen. He allowed the six runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

The Mariners mustered two runs off Dean, who got his first big-league win. The 27-year-old rookie pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

“He threw strikes,” Servais said. “The slider got in on some of our righties, so he widened the plate there. You’ve got to give him credit. He pitched a good ballgame.”