Yankees End Reign, Finally Solve King Felix Out West
SEATTLE (WFAN/AP) — For the past couple of seasons, the one pitcher who could consistently stifle the Yankees was Seattle ace Felix Hernandez.
That run came to an abrupt end Monday night as Robinson Cano hit a three-run double, Mark Teixeira and Chris Dickerson homered and the Yankees rolled past Hernandez and the Mariners 9-3.
“I think we’ve got a great team. The credit goes to us, man,” said Nick Swisher, who had one of New York’s 14 hits. “He’s a great pitcher and we put up some good at-bats off him. You don’t see that very often. You have to give credit where credit is due. Our guys did a great job tonight.”
Hernandez (14-12), last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, entered with an exemplary history against the Yankees. Over his previous six starts against New York dating to Sept. 18, 2009, Hernandez was 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA, the longest winning streak by a Mariners pitcher against the Yankees.
Overall, he was 6-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 career starts against New York.
“They’ve got a pretty good lineup,” Hernandez said. “You have to respect that and make good pitches. In that (fourth) inning, I just made a couple mistakes and got hit.”
The Yankees roughed up Hernandez for five runs in the fourth, beginning with Teixeira’s solo homer on an 0-1 pitch. It was his 37th, third-most in the league. It also was his fifth off Hernandez, more than any other batter.
Cano, who had three hits, doubled into the right-field corner and Swisher singled, with Cano stopping at third. Eric Chavez followed with a sacrifice fly.
Brett Gardner sliced a double into the left-field corner, scoring Swisher. Dickerson then hit the first pitch for his first home run as a Yankee and a 6-1 lead.
“The last live pitching I’ve seen was two weeks ago,” said Dickerson, recalled from the minors on Sept. 1. “Especially with him on the mound, you have to jump on fastballs.”
Hernandez worked six innings, giving up nine hits and six runs — one fewer than his season high. He struck out four with no walks.
With the one-sided victory, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera didn’t need to leave the bullpen for a chance at his 600th save.
Phil Hughes (5-5) pitched six strong innings to help New York increase its AL East lead to a season-high four games over idle Boston with 16 to play.
“You never expect to score a lot of runs off him. You expect a dogfight,” Hughes said. “Fortunately, he wasn’t on tonight and those early runs were nice to work with.”
Hughes, who had not won since Aug. 19, allowed one run and five hits. He walked three and struck out three. The right-hander missed more than half the season with shoulder inflammation and is trying to re-establish himself as a reliable member of the Yankees’ rotation.
“I can’t change what’s already happened,” he said, “but from this point on I’d love to have a job here when October rolls around.”
His most difficult inning was the sixth, his final one. With the Yankees leading 6-1, Kyle Seager opened with a double and Dustin Ackley reached on an infield single. Mike Carp then lined out to Derek Jeter at shortstop, but Justin Smoak walked to load the bases.
Hughes got Miguel Olivo to pop out softly to shortstop and Trayvon Robinson lined out to center.
“That was a huge situation,” said catcher Austin Romine, who made his first big league start and got his first career hit, a single in the seventh. “He really dug deep right there. Larry (pitching coach Larry Rothschild) told him, ‘It’s your game. Let’s go get ’em.’ That fired him up.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi added: “That was really big. You don’t want to give them any life. He (Hernandez) might go back out there if it’s 6-3, 6-4.”
Dan Cortes took over for Hernandez in the seventh and the Yankees worked him over. Romine got his first hit and Jeter followed with his 3,074th, a single that extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Curtis Granderson singled to load the bases, easing out from a 1-for-19 slide.
Teixeira struck out and then Cano, fouling off five fastballs after a 3-1 count, cleared the bases with a double to left. He’s a .471 hitter with 27 RBIs this season with the bases loaded. Six of his eight hits have been for extra bases.
Olivo had a two-run homer, his 18th, in the eighth off Scott Proctor.
NOTES: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, who has lingering soreness in his left thumb, already has missed three straight games and might not play again until Friday. Rodriguez said his timing is fine at the plate and he was making contact during batting practice. But he said he had “no authority.” Girardi said Rodriguez might return to the lineup this weekend in Toronto. “We’ve got to get him healthy to be productive,” Girardi said. … The Yankees lead the majors with 205 home runs. They have 48 in their last 28 games. … Roger Hansen, 50, who has had various roles in his 18 years with the Mariners, was named special assistant to the general manager. … The Yankees will send RHP A.J. Burnett (9-11, 5.27 ERA) to the mound Tuesday. He is one win short of his seventh straight double-digit win season and eighth overall. He is 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA in seven career starts against Seattle. … The Mariners will counter with LHP Charlie Furbush (3-8, 4.84), acquired in a July 30 trade with Detroit. He worked a career-high 7 1-3 innings in his last start Sept. 7 against the Angels, a 3-1 loss. He has never faced the Yankees.
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