HOUSTON -- Felix Hernandez, off to the strongest start of his outstanding career, was named American League Pitcher of the Month for June after going 3-1 with a 1.22 ERA in six starts.

The Mariners ace was all smiles upon learning of the award, following the Mariners series sweep of the Astros with a 5-2 win on Wednesday.

"I'm happy," Hernandez said. "That means I'm pitching pretty good, right?"

Indeed, the 28-year-old right-hander is 10-2 with a 2.10 ERA heading into his next start on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

Hernandez had 54 strikeouts and six walks in 44 1/3 innings over his six outstanding June outings to earn his fourth AL Pitcher of the Month award and first since August 2012.

How good was the stretch of games?

"Pretty good," said the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner. "Pretty good, but I've got to keep going. It's not only one month, it's going to be the whole season."

Among Hernandez's June wins was a career-high 15-strikeout effort at Tampa Bay and his lone loss came in a 1-0 game against the Rangers in Seattle. He finished the month by allowing just one hit with three walks and nine strikeouts over eight innings in a 3-0 victory over the Indians.

His hot stretch helped Seattle go 18-10 in the month, and the Mariners have carried that over with two more wins to open July as they've lifted their record to 47-38.

"That's what makes me more happy, if we're winning," said Hernandez, who has never pitched in the postseason in his career.

Hernandez earned the honor in a month when there were several other strong candidates. Others receiving votes included Angels right-hander Garrett Richards (4-0, 1.05 ERA, 34.1 innings, 35 strikeouts); Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester (4-1, 1.98 ERA, 41.0 innings, 32 strikeouts); Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.51 ERA, 43.0 IP, 57 strikeouts); Orioles right-hander Bud Norris (4-0, 2.55 ERA, 24.2 innings, 20 strikeouts); and Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (3-2, 1.69 ERA, 37.1 innings, 31 strikeouts).