All Felix Hernandez needed, of course, was the electricity of a regular-season game, the juice of opening day, the tension of facing the defending division champion.

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All Felix Hernandez needed, of course, was the electricity of a regular-season game, the juice of opening day, the tension of facing the defending division champion.

That 0-3 record and 10.22 ERA in spring training? That stinker of an outing against Cleveland to close out the Cactus League? About as irrelevant as the team’s win-loss record in March.

“I keep telling you guys that,’’ Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said with a smirk.

A big opening

Felix Hernandez recorded his third career opening-day start with 10 or more strikeouts. He became just the fourth player since 1914 with at least three 10-plus-strikeout starts on opening day. The pitchers and number of 10-strikeout games for each:

4 Randy Johnson

3 Pedro Martinez

3 Bob Gibson

3 Felix Hernandez

More opening-day numbers for Hernandez:

Starts: 8

Record: 6-0

ERA: 1.49

Strikeouts: 62

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Hernandez was his usual dominating self Monday as the Mariners opened a season brimming with hope by beating the Angels 4-1 at a rocking Safeco Field.

With a sellout crowd to spur him on and a Mike Trout homer in the first inning to wake him up, Hernandez had a vintage effort. He worked seven innings and gave up just that one run via Trout, and one more hit, a fifth-inning single. He struck out 10.

When last seen in the 2014 finale at Safeco Field, Hernandez was being feted for an expected Cy Young season by the crowd, with the Mariners’ faint playoff hopes expiring in mid-game. A stirring experience, to be sure.

“This one was better,’’ Hernandez declared. “This crowd was awesome. That was amazing, that was unbelievable. It was awesome.”

The lesson of discounting spring-training stats should have been learned long ago, but it goes extra for pitchers of Hernandez’s stature. Felix himself had said all along there was nothing to worry about, and then proved himself right.

“It’s Felix,’’ catcher Mike Zunino said with a shrug. “You know what you’re going to get once the season rolls around. There’s more focus, more intensity. There’s the adrenaline he just thrives on. You know he’s going to rise to the occasion. He showed that today.”

Not only does Hernandez live for the big moment, but Monday’s game was an environment right in his wheelhouse. Hernandez is 6-0 with a 1.49 ERA in eight opening-day starts, and 5-1 with a 1.07 ERA in his past nine starts against the Angels, striking out 81 in 59 innings.

The first-inning homer by Trout, the best player in baseball by acclimation, was a familiar blip. In last year’s season opener in Anaheim, Trout reached Hernandez for a first-inning homer with a man aboard, and Hernandez responded by overpowering the Angels over the next five innings in a 10-3 Seattle win.

This time, Hernandez’s post-Trout reaction was visible to his teammates. The Angels went 1 for 20 after the home run until Hernandez, who had been battling a calf cramp over the final two innings, departed the game.

“It’s just a little more focus,’’ Zunino said. “You can just tell in his demeanor and how he goes about his business. Felix is one of those few guys that can really do it. You see it from pitch to pitch, and in situations, he can just turn up that extra notch and do what he needs to do.”

Hernandez said his fastball command was excellent and that helped him spot his off-speed pitches effectively. The Trout homer came after he had fouled off five fastballs.

“I tried to go away and stayed in the middle. Just a mistake,’’ Hernandez said with a shrug.

Oh, and the next two times he faced Trout, Hernandez struck him out.

“He really bounced back,’’ McClendon said. “He wasn’t intimidated by that home run.”

Hernandez’s only other jam occurred in the fifth when a single and hit batter put two runners on base with no outs. The Mariners at the time were clinging to a 2-1 lead, and Hernandez kept it there by striking out Chris Iannetta and getting Johnny Giavotella to hit into an inning-ending double play.

“I can’t say enough good things about him,’’ Iannetta said. “He’s a competitor. He locates. I don’t know how many pitches he throws. It seems like 12. It’s probably four or five, but he locates all of them and throws any of them in any count. And he just gets tougher as the game goes on. The more guys get on base, the tougher he gets.”

That’s the beauty of Hernandez, who admits that he ramps up his game in front of large, charged-up crowds. Asked about his impeccable opening-day record, he immediately knocked on the table where he was sitting in the interview room.

“I don’t know. It’s a great challenge,’’ Hernandez said. “You’ve got a lot of eyes on you, so you’ve got to do good.”

The ultimate success of the Mariners’ season, of course, will be determined by such relatively mundane matters as consistency, depth and execution over the next six months.

“We need to worry more about the grind than the big picture,’’ Kyle Seager said before the game.

Having the battled-tested Hernandez starting in prime form is comforting, even if there was no reason to worry in the first place. If he puts up a typical Felix year and the rest of the team falls in place around him, the grind will last into the seventh month.

“If you play 162 games and are happy to go home, it doesn’t make sense,’’ Robinson Cano said. “You should prepare yourself to play 180 games.’’

For Felix Hernandez and the Mariners, No. 1 was all they could have hoped for.