Hernandez hangs in, Mariners beat slumping Yankees 3-2
NEW YORK (AP) Warming up in the bullpen, Felix Hernandez felt like a Cy Young Award winner. On the mound, well, sigh.
Hernandez looked uncomfortable all afternoon but overcame a career high-tying six walks, and the Seattle Mariners held off the New York Yankees 3-2 Saturday for their third straight win.
''I wasn't happy with my performance,'' the ace said, adding, ''I was all over the place.''
Hernandez (1-1) tied Randy Johnson's team record for career strikeouts, but seemed out of sorts throughout his five innings. He constantly pawed the rubber, scuffed the mound and tugged his jersey.
Funny, too, because King Felix said he was almost pitch perfect a half-hour earlier.
''I was painting, every pitch,'' he said. ''When I came into the game, it wasn't there.''
''The ball was going everywhere,'' he said.
Hernandez said he would tighten up his mechanics in between starts and be fine.
Hard to say the same about New York's bats right now.
The Yankees lost their fourth in a row when Chase Headley grounded out with runners on second and third to end it, leaving them 0 for 24 with runners in scoring position during the first two games of the series.
Alex Rodriguez struck out three times and the 40-year-old heard boos as his hitless slump reached 19 at-bats.
''No player in here should feel like they should try to put the team on their shoulders,'' Rodriguez said.
Hernandez has often been hurt by poor run support as a big leaguer, and it's a major reason he has just one win this year in three starts despite a 1.00 ERA. He was in trouble all game, with the Yankees putting at least two runners on against him in every inning.
Carlos Beltran homered, doubled twice and singled for New York. His RBI double accounted for the only run against Hernandez.
Hernandez gave up five hits while relying on a heavy dose of changeups and a lot of breaking balls that bounced. He threw 106 pitches overall, rarely amping up his fastball.
Hernandez fanned four, matching Johnson's mark of 2,162 strikeouts with the Mariners.
''He taught me a lot,'' Hernandez said.
The right-hander improved to 6-1 with a 1.41 ERA in nine starts at the new Yankee Stadium.
''Didn't make it look easy,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for Seattle's first save of the season. He got two quick outs, then gave up a pair of singles before retiring Headley.
Speedy Ketel Marte dashed home from first base on Robinson Cano's hit-and-run single to put Seattle ahead in a three-run fifth.
''First time I think I've given up a single and the guy scored from first,'' Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said - though Derek Jeter did it on Jason Giambi's three-run single when Sabathia was pitching for Cleveland at Yankee Stadium in July 2003.
''Like I said earlier, there's a first time for everything,'' the big lefty added.
Leonys Martin began the burst with a solo homer off Sabathia (1-1), and Nelson Cruz capped it with his second double of the day.
Beltran hit a solo home run in the seventh off Nick Vincent. The Mariners have won eight of their last 10 at Yankee Stadium.
Mariners: Setup man Joaquin Benoit worked a scoreless eighth. He hadn't pitched since April 8 because of tightness in his back and shoulder.
Yankees: C Brian McCann pinch hit in the eighth and stayed in the game. He didn't start after playing Friday night. McCann has been dealing with a bruised left toe that was nicked by a foul tip.
THE BIG K
Hernandez will get a chance to break Johnson's record in his next start, likely next weekend at the Angels. Hernandez, a six-time All-Star at age 30, has struck out 2,162 in 2,280 1/3 innings; the Big Unit fanned the same number in 1,838 1/3 innings during the Seattle portion of his Hall of Fame career.
This was the fourth time Hernandez has walked six batters in a game. He's walked 13 in three starts this year - he didn't issue his 13th walk last year until his ninth start. He's averaged fewer than two walks per start during his career.
Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners are set Sunday to become the first set of Japanese teammates to oppose each other as starting pitchers in the major leagues. The 35-year-old Iwakuma and the 27-year-old Tanaka played together from 2007-11 with Rakuten. ''I'm sure there will be a lot of TVs on in Japan,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.