So even when a bout of dizziness set in and the Mariners' ace couldn't feel his legs temporarily, Hernandez knew he didn't have a choice other than to fight through not feeling well.
He ended up getting all the help he needed.
Hernandez pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball and Edwin Diaz pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning and then worked a scoreless ninth as the Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I knew I was facing (White Sox ace Chris) Sale, he's a great pitcher and it was going to be a tough game," Hernandez said. "I knew I needed to go deep into the game. I went in there and did my job."
Hernandez (9-4) outdueled Sale, who took the loss despite striking out 14 in a complete-game effort. Hernandez scattered eight hits and allowed only a Todd Frazier solo home run in the seventh inning to win his fifth straight game.
In addition to Diaz recording the final five outs for his 11th straight save, Hernandez got a big boost from third baseman Shawn O'Malley. O'Malley barehanded a slow roller by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson with the bases loaded and no out in the eighth inning.
O'Malley charged the ball and threw home to force out J.B. Shuck, who reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to third on a Tyler Saladino single and a walk to Adam Eaton. Diaz entered the game at that point, needing to pitch out of trouble to protect the Mariners' two-run lead.
"I was confident (in Diaz) because he's tough," Hernandez said. "I was not worried about it."
With a nifty defensive gem that Mariners' manager Scott Servais called the play of the game, O'Malley put any worries about allowing the White Sox to come back to rest.
"I just realized I had to bare-hand it and get rid of it as quick as I can," O'Malley said. "Fortunately, it worked out."
The play allowed Hernandez to earn the win while doing just enough to beat Sale (15-7), who allowed five hits and pitched five innings of no-hit ball as he retired the final 16 hitters he faced.
But as good as Sale was, Hernandez's outing impressed the White Sox ace.
"If I wasn't pitching tonight I would have been watching every pitch," Sale said. "You run into a guy like that, he's special. There's no doubt about it."
The Mariners led 3-0 after four innings as they touched up Sale for a run in three straight innings after Sale needed only 10 pitches to breeze through the first inning.
Adam Lind's RBI double in the third extended the Seattle lead an inning after the Mariners loaded the bases with nobody out.
But the Mariners had to settle for only a run in the second inning when O'Malley -- who was hit by a pitch to start the inning -- scored when Sale got Guillermo Heredia to ground into a double play. Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a Franklin Gutierrez solo home run after Sale retired the first five batters he faced.
The White Sox had a couple of base-running blunders and Hernandez got Shuck to line into a double play in the fifth inning, keeping the Mariners' early lead intact.
"Thank God we (scored) early because I think everybody saw when (Sale) gets on a roll, it's lights out," Servais said. "We had no chance, really, after the fourth inning."
NOTES: Mariners 3B Kyle Seager missed his third straight game with a bruised foot. Manager Scott Servais said Seager felt much better Friday, but was still not ready to return to the lineup. Seager is expected to play on Saturday against the White Sox but that he will have to continue to play through some pain. Servais said when Seager returns, the Mariners will likely recall a relief pitcher from the minors to bolster their bullpen. ... White Sox LF Melky Cabrera missed his second straight game due to flu-like symptoms. ... C Alex Avila (right hamstring strain) was activated from the disabled list after not playing since July 5. A roster spot opened up Friday after the White Sox traded Dioner Navarro to Toronto for LHP Colton Turner before Friday's game. Navarro was hitting .210 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 85 games. Turner was assigned to Double-A Birmingham.