It’s not important that Felix Hernandez didn’t deliver an awe-inspiring performance in Friday’s 13-3 victory over the Houston Astros. The important thing is that the King was finally back.

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Forget about the numbers for a second. The three earned runs he gave up, the eight hits — they don’t matter right now. That the six-time All-Star wasn’t his best self is irrelevant.

It’s not important that Felix Hernandez didn’t deliver an awe-inspiring performance in Friday’s 13-3 victory over the Houston Astros. The important thing is that the King was finally back.

There was an energy about Safeco Field that hasn’t been in the park for a while. The 31,783 fans knew something was different.

Yes, the Mariners had won five in a row, had finally gotten over the .500 mark and were taking on the best team in baseball. But with their ace back out there after nearly two months — it just felt like everything was starting to come together.

“I was going crazy when I was on the DL, but I knew I was going to come back and that I was going to be good,” said Hernandez, who hadn’t pitched since April 25 due to shoulder inflammation. “It was good — the crowd was amazing.”

You have to remember how bleak things looked for this team less than a month ago. On May 27, the Mariners were eight games below .500 — with four of their starting pitchers sidelined with injuries.

It might seem silly to bury a team two months into the season, but the M’s were proving it justifiable. Then…boom. Players such as Ben Gamel came out of nowhere. Mike Zunino rediscovered his swing. Sam Gaviglio emerged, and Seattle won five consecutive games in which he took the mound.

Not only had the Mariners weathered the storm, they were dancing in its eye. But with Felix back? The playoff push feels official, doesn’t it?

“Guys know what he means for us over the long haul for the rest of the season,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais, adding Hernandez was likely getting a “beer shower” after the game. “I’m not looking for shutouts every time — just keep us in the ballgame. Get deep. Get us six innings and we’re in good shape.”

Again, Hernandez wasn’t great Friday — but perhaps that’s to be expected after such a long layoff. He pitched six innings, gave up three runs and two homers while striking out six and walking one.

There were some hard line drives that flew straight into Mariners’ gloves, and a 375-foot shot from George Springer that fell one foot shy of clearing the wall. But after every misfortune, Hernandez recovered.

When Jose Altuve took him yard in the top of the first, he took a deep breath and struck Carlos Correa out swinging. When Marwin Gonzalez singled home Correa in the fourth, Hernandez embarrassed Yuli Gurriel with an off-speed pitch to fan him and get out of the inning. And when Alex Bregman led off the fifth with a solo shot, Felix retired six batters without giving up a run.

Electric? No. But he got the job done, and right now — that’s all the Mariners need.

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and give more significance to a game than it deserves, but something about Friday felt special. The Astros came in with their 50-24 record and got lit up to the delight of nearly 32,000 fans — many of whom were wearing yellow in “King’s Court.”

When Hernandez was taken out of the game after the sixth, the score was 9-3 Mariners. It was 12-3 after seven innings.

Such a shellacking would have gotten Safeco psyched up no matter what the circumstance. But when it happened in the midst of a six-game winning streak and Felix is on the mound? Yeah — the pieces are falling into place.

“It’s a big series, and it was a good start to win this game,” said Hernandez, who, with his 157th victory, passed former Mariner Freddy Garcia as the winningest Venezuelan pitcher in MLB history. “Now we just gotta go out and do the same thing tomorrow.”

Who knows how things will go from here? Ups and downs are a staple of baseball, and there are no doubt downs in the Mariners’ future.

But the way this lineup has been hitting, the way their pitchers have been hurling, and the King back in the rotation — things are looking up.