Bronx, NY – For the second consecutive game, the Seattle mariners starting pitcher went the distance to hand the Yankees a defeat. On Monday, Cliff Lee pitched a complete game in an 8-3 win. On Tuesday, Felix Hernandez blanked the Yanks in nine innings of masterful hurling.
The 24 year-old, Seattle hurler, has become one of the stellar starters in the American League. Hernandez made his debut in the majors on August 4, 2005 at the age of 19 years and 118 days. He was the youngest pitcher in the majors since Jose Rijo made his first appearance with the Yankees in 1984. The Venezuelan native was drafted by Seattle in 2002 at the age of 16 as an international free agent.
Hernandez completed his best year in the majors in 2009. He was second to Zack Greinke in the A.L. Cy Young Award voting after compiling a 19-5 mark. Despite his seeming mediocre won/loss record this year (6-5), Hernandez has pitched quite well, especially in his last several starts.
Hernandez threw a complete game, giving up only two hits and three walks against the Yankees in his first start at the current Yankee Stadium. Mark Teixeira doubled to lead-off the third and Curtis Granderson doubled to lead-off the following inning. The double by Teixeira extended his consecutive game hitting streak to 11. Hernandez fanned 11 Yankees batters, his season-high. After the contest, Hernandez told reporters, “I threw a lot of strikes. Everything was working.”
Wednesday’s start was the third straight in which Hernandez has gone nine innings. In those three games, he has given up a total of only three earned runs. He has hurled at least eight frames in five of his last six outings. He has lasted at least six innings in 15 of his 17 starts this season.
Although Yankees starter Javier Vazquez did not pitch a bad game, he was not equal to his counterpart from Seattle. In six innings, he gave up three runs and six hits. He walked two, hit one batter and struck out eight. He admitted, “I made two mistakes in location to [Milton] Bradley (solo homer to lead-off the second) and to [Michael] Saunders (solo homer to lead-off the third).
The home run ball accounted for four additional runs by the Mariners off the Yankees relievers. Russell Branyan hit a two-run homer in the seventh and Michael Saunders hit his second of the game for two more runs in the ninth.
Seattle returns for the final game of the series on Thursday afternoon. The Yanks then play a three game series of day encounters during the July 4 weekend.